Penny Jar: Estimating for Charity

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Learners will collect pennies to donate and will combine charitable giving with estimating and calculating with money. To start choose a charity or something to save up for together. Show learners a clear plastic jar in which you’ll collect coins and make some predictions: How many pennies will the jar hold? What’s that in dollars? How full will the jar be in a week? How much money do you think that will be? Collect every day until the jar is full, then, everyone gets counting! [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • jar for pennies
  • paper and pencils
  • calculators (optional)


  • Mathematics
    • Number and Operations
      • Decimals
      • Number Systems
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Collecting
  • Financial Literacy


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Mixing in Math


  • , © 2010, TERC, Inc., MA., 2010

Funding Source:

  • NSF, ESI-0406675 and DRL-0713537