Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Counting Money in Second Grade: Google Slides + Seesaw App Smash!

The second grade students have been practicing counting coin values! One skill that is especially difficult for younger learners is counting money when there is a combination of coins, because it requires you to change your counting patterns with each coin depending on its value! 

First you're counting by 10s with the dimes, then you have to shift gears when you get to the pennies! And then we add in nickels and quarters???!?!?  Count by 25s. STOP! ADD 10s! STOP! Now add 1s!!!

This can be a challenge, but SO IMPORTANT for young learners to grasp early. It's the kind of mental and conceptual mathematics that will be so much more useful to students than passing any set of timed math sets ever will!

What the Standard Says:

Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

The 30-Minute Lesson:

In this activity, second grade students practiced counting combinations of coins with values under $1.00.

In a short guided lesson, students worked on a set of Google Slides shared in their Google Classroom. One example was modeled by the teacher, and a second example was done as a whole class. Students worked on more examples, pausing to discuss their solution with a partner. They were to describe the coins they used, and then tell how they counted it aloud. Then, they were to compare their solution to the one their partner offered. Did they use the same combination of coins to show the money amount in the same way?

Students selected ONE slide from their activity to download as a .JPG. This saved a copy of that page to their Chromebook. This could also be done on an iPad or PC as well. If students know how to take a screenshot, that would be be an alternative way to get an image of their work. These might seem like complicated tasks, but once you show them how, even very young students CAN do this. Show them the steps and practice together a few times!

Make Math Thinking Visible AND Audible!

Once the students downloaded their picture, we headed over to! Students added their image to a Seesaw post and used the voice recording tool to describe their coins and how they counted them. Once they had shared their learning to Seesaw, students could review the work created by all of their peers in the classroom and leave feedback for each other! This allowed students an opportunity to compare their solution to the solutions that other students came up with! 

Play this on Seesaw!

Also, because parents are connected to the students' Seesaw accounts, they too were able to view and leave feedback for the classroom math activity. This powerful home-school connection gives parents a view into the classroom and shows them how to appropriately reinforce the math concepts at home. 

Standards of Mathematical Practice

This short lesson allowed students to engage with many of the standards of mathematical practice:

  • Standard 3: Construct Viable Arguments 
  • Standard 4: Model with Mathematics
  • Standard 5: Use Appropriate Tools Strategically
  • Standard 6: Attend to Precision

Tips for Little Learners:

  • Learn one technology skill at a time. This App Smash was possible because these students were already very familiar with Google Classroom, Google Slides, and Seesaw. They have used each of the digital tools in isolation a number of times. This activity is definitely NOT a starting place. Keep it simple, especially in the beginning!
  • In Seesaw, it takes practice and modeling to show students how to give specific feedback to peers. Explicitly demonstrate how to move beyond comments such as, "I like it!" and "Good Job!" Offer sentence prompts such as, "I agree with you because..." or "Another example might be..."

Get your own copy of the Google Slides templates! 

Money counting practice pages for Google Slides. Please feel free to duplicate, change, and pass along to others!

Dimes and Pennies - Counting 10s and 1s

Money Practice: Counting On! (All coins, values under $1.00)


  1. This is such a treat to have to use with our students. Thank you so much for your generosity. Aloha! (I'm vacationing in a little carried away!).

  2. I received the message " refused to connect" on both links. I tried using two different Google accounts. Have the links been removed?

  3. Thank you, this is awesome!