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Use Pennies To Teach Common Core Math Skills

Young children love pennies. So make them part of math comprehension. Use pennies to help young students practice math skills in a simple yet memorable way. Here are four easy ways to use pennies to help reinforce important Common Core math curriculum skills.

For preschool to kindergarten: Place pennies in a straight, horizontal row. Start with five across. Have your child point to the pennies as he counts them. This reinforces an important math skill called one-to-one correspondence. In other words, he’s actually saying what he’s seeing. Increase the pennies by one until he can easily point to and count 20 in a row.

For kindergarten and 1st grade: Use pennies to practice simple addition and subtraction while subtly incorporating word problems. For example, Mom gave Sarah five pennies. Her brother gave her seven more. How many does Sarah have in all?
Or, Kevin had 20 pennies. He bought an eraser at the school store. It costs 12 cents. How many pennies does he have left? Using the correct number of pennies to solve the equations helps your child visually understand what addition and subtraction mean.

For 1st and 2nd grade: Use groups of pennies to help your child determine even and odd numbers by “pairing up” by 2’s to show even number groups, and “one left over” to show an odd number group.
Also, use groups of pennies for skip counting. Start with a large pile of pennies. Have him put the pennies in groups of 2, 5, or 10 and skip count the small groups.
Use pennies to determine “difference” or “how much more, how much less?” This is a game for two players. You will need a pair of dice and a pile of pennies. The first player to roll the dice counts the dots then lines up that many pennies in a horizontal row. The second roller counts his dots and lines up his pennies directly underneath the first row, in alignment with the pennies above. The second player will either have more, fewer, or an equal amount of pennies. Then players determine who had more and how much more. Who had less and how much less?


Using pennies is a great hands-on way for young students to make “cents” of math!


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