EL Support Lesson

Identifying Coin Values

We know that exposure and repetition are very important when teaching students to recognise coins and identify their values. Use this hands-on lesson that can be used alongside Counting Coins or as an independent lesson!
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theCounting CoinsLesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theCounting CoinsLesson plan.

Students will be able to recognise coins and identify their values.


Students will be able to explain their thinking using sentence frames and visuals for support.

(3 minutes)
Compare and Contrast MoneyTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Identifying Coin ValuesGlossary: Identifying Coin Values
  • Project the image of the candle on the whiteboard. Explain to the students that you've been wanting this candle for a long time and you are hoping to go to the store to purchase the candle after school. Get out your wallet or purse and say, "Alright, let me see here. I need to figure out what I can give to the sales clerk when I get to the store."
  • Pull out three pieces of macaroni. Say, "Do you think I can purchase this candle with three pieces of macaroni? I see the tag says 3!"
  • Have students think-pair-share their responses and provide the following sentence stems for support:
    • I think you can use macaroni because ____.
    • I don't think you can use macaroni because ____.
  • Allow a few students to share out their thinking.
  • Explain that most people use money to purchase the things they need or want. Ask students to turn and talk, explaining what money is to an elbow partner.
  • Tell the students that today they will be solving story problems involving money using sentence frames and visuals for support.
(10 minutes)
  • Project the Comparing and Contrasting Money worksheet on the whiteboard. Ask students, "What do these pictures show?" and allow them to share their ideas with the class. Write some of their ideas on the whiteboard. Next, ask students, "Are any of these pictures different than the others? Or do all of the pictures fit into the same group? Explain your answers!" Provide students with sentence stem/frames to support sharing out and model how to use them.
    • The ____Picture is different than the others because ____.
    • I think the pictures all fit into the group ____Because ____.
    • All of these pictures show ____.
  • Encourage a few students to explain their answers to the rest of the class. Allow them to come up to the whiteboard to explain their thinking, using a pointer to act as the teacher.
  • Clarify that the pictures are showing types of money used in the United States. Circle the coins in red and circle the five dollar bill in blue. Explain to the students that although we can sort all the pictures into the group Money, we can also sort the money we see into two groups: coins and dollar bills. Tell the student that the picture is showing a five dollar bill. Explain to the students that today they will be learning some new words that will help them identify types of coins and their ValuesOr how much they are worth.
  • Project the Vocabulary Cards worksheet on the whiteboard and read the student-friendly definitions, referring to the visuals for support.
  • Show students examples of the real coin that correspond with the coins on the vocabulary cards (penny, nickel, dime, quarter).
  • Hold up coins and ask students to turn and talk to their partners, sharing the name of the coin and the value orally. Encourage students to refer to their vocabulary words for support. Write sentence stems/frames on the board to support students in sharing out. Examples include:
    • That is a ____(name of coin) and it is worth ____(value).
  • Guide students in writing the numerical value of the coin above the written word in each coin's definition.
(14 minutes)
  • Explain to the students, "Now that we learned the names and values for coins, I'd like to ask you some questions about coins. What are they used for? Turn and talk to a partner, sharing your idea."
  • Ask students if they can think of some times in their lives when they've needed to use coins, or they've seen a family member, neighbour, or friend use coins. Jot their ideas on the board (e.g. the laundromat, a parking garage, purchasing food, buying candy, etc.)
  • Write down the following story problem on the whiteboard:
    • Alexis bought an apple at the store. The apple cost fifty cents. Alexis had two quarters and two dimes. What coins should he use to purchase the apple? Why?
  • Put students into partnerships and ask them to get our their maths journals. Pass out a bag of coins to each partnership. On the board, write:
    • The ____Cost ____.
  • Have students copy the sentence frame into their maths journals. Next, ask students to get out two quarters and two dimes from their bag of coins. Ask the students to place them on the desk so they are visible to you. Scan the room and check that students got out the correct coins. Next, ask students to draw a picture of the coins in their maths journal under the sentence frame. When students are finished, say, "Now I want you and your partner to think about the ValueOf each coin, or how much each coin is worth. I want you to discuss your ideas together, and once you've agreed, I want you to write the value above (or inside) the coin. Show the students an example on the board, writing 25 above a drawing of a quarter. Don't worry about having the students represent the coins using decimal points and dollar signs. The purpose of this activity is simply for students to understand the values of the coins without seeing countable objects.
  • Encourage students to refer to their vocabulary cards for support. Observe students as they fill out their maths journals, providing clarification and sentence stems/frames to support students in their discussions.
  • Discuss the values of each coin as a whole group and explain to the students that to decide which coins Alexis should use, we need to understand the value of each coin. Write 50 on the board. Say, "I know Alexis needs fifty cents. Each quarter is worth twenty five cents. If I use a quarter and combine, or add it, with a dime, how much money do I have?" Allow students to share their ideas with a partner, and then share out to the class. Model strategies such as skip counting, addition, or using a hundreds chart to support student understanding. Allow students to draw strategies used in their maths journals. Continue this process until students realise there are no other combinations to try and choose two quarters as the correct answer. Have students circle the two quarters in their maths journals.
(10 minutes)
  • Project the image of the doughnut on the whiteboard. Explain to the students that the doughnut costs 75 cents.
  • Have students create a new problem in their maths journals, using one of their names or a name that is famliar to them as the character in the story problem. Write the following sentence frame on the board and read it aloud to support students in creating their story problems:
    • ____Wanted a doughnut. The doughnut costs ____. ____Should use ____Quarters, ____Dimes, ____Nickels, and ____Pennies to pay for the doughnut.
  • Explain to the students that next, each partnership must try to figure out what coins to use (referring to their coin bags, vocabulary cards, and maths journals) to purchase the doughnut.
  • Give students sufficient time to figure out what coins to use. Rotate around the classroom, observing students as they work collaboratively. Ask prompting questions to support student discussion and reflection.
  • Ask students to stand up with their maths journals and switch maths journals with another pair of students. The purpose is for students to compare solutions and methods used to solve the problem. Write question stems on the board for students to discuss with their partner as they review the coins used to pay for the doughnut:
    • Are the coins the same or different from the coins you used?
    • Do the coins, when combined, or added, equal seventy-five cents? How do you know?
    • Do you have any questions about this partnership's strategy?
  • Allow a few students to share out their answers and elaborate on a few ways to create seventy-five cents, while clarifying any confusion around coin names and values.


  • Invite students to bring in coins (if country of origin uses coins) from their country of origin. Encourage the students to share their coins and coin values with the class.
  • Provide the definition of vocabulary words in English and student's home language (L1), if possible.
  • Give student a partially filled out chart with coin names and illustrations on the left and coin values on the right.
  • Have students work in a small, teacher-led group during group work with other students who need support.
  • Allow student to respond to the value of the coin using numbers instead of words during the closing activity.


  • Encourage students to create a bulletin board featuring different types of money from all over the world, including labels that explain the name and the value.
  • Ask students to share their reasoning without referring to the sentence stems or frames for support.
  • Have students explain definitions of vocabulary words such as MoneyAnd ValueIn their own words.
  • Observe students during group work and jot down notes, illustrations, and language used as students are collaborating.
  • Collect student journals and review them as a formative assessment.
  • Gather students together in a group and do a whip-around-pass. Pull out coins from one of the coin bags, and go around in a circle, having students orally share what the coin's name is and its value using a sentence frame:
    • That is a ____(name of coin) and it is worth ____(value).

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