Money jar teaches math skills
         Keep a jar of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and a few half-dollars
handy. It can be useful in many ways.

         The task your youngest child can accomplish is sorting: putting all the like
coins together. While doing this, be sure that you use all the names of the coins,
to introduce this concept. Counting the coins is useful for children of this age.

         Once children are familiar with the names of the coins, teach the value of
each one. Kids will need a sense of value before they can tell you which is worth
more or less than other other. Compare quantities. After being able to count the
number of coins, ask, “Do you have more pennies or more dimes?” and
questions like that.

         After children are secure in counting by one, introduce counting by other
multiples. Children feel proud to be able to count by 5, 10, 25, and 50.

         In addition to that, it speeds the possibility that they will learn about the
most important math concept of all: that mathematics is all about patterns.
Children will soon recognize that, for example, as 70 follows 60, 170 follows 160,
570 follows 560, etc.

         A next appropriate step in using the money jar is counting the money
when there is a mixture of coins. Always start with the largest coin in hand. For
example, if there are six quarters, four dimes, five nickels, and four pennies, the
counting will be: 25, 50, 75, $1.00, $1.25, $1.50, $1.60, $1.70, $1.80, $1.90, $1.95,
etc. Children need to learn to stop counting by one multiple and then continue
with another.

         As a sideline, use the coins to teach your child about American history: the
names of the presidents on the coins we see and use every day.

         Many thanks to Marge Collins of Palo Verde School for teaching me the
many uses of the money jar when our Elizabeth was in her class. Even teachers
learn from teachers!

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson. Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay Davidson