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Exploring Pennies and Dimes

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    NCTM Illuminations

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Exploring Pennies and Dimes

In this math lesson, learners examine pennies and dimes and model subtraction as they listen to a children’s book ("Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday" by Judith Viorst). Learners model amounts to 60 cents with coins, use coin rubbings of pennies and dimes, and make a chart comparing the two coins.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
    • Number and Operations
      • Multiples and Factors
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation

Informal Categories

  • Financial Literacy
  • Literature


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Burton, Grace M.


  • All Rights Reserved, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, ©2008

Funding Source:

  • Thinkfinity/Verizon Foundation


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