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Money, Money, Money!

As a new year begins, and we all long for a warm summer holiday, The Learning Lady has been thinking about how to inspire little learners using the spare foreign coins we all have lying around the house. There is something which fascinates children about the similarities and differences in the coinage, the way the coins smell, the age and journey they’ve been on and the value that they represent. The Learning Lady knows that teaching children to understand the concept of money is tricky, so the better the foundation of using currency to investigate and explore, the more aware the children will be when it comes to the difficult stage of representing and working with different amounts. Here are her ideas! Optimized-shutterstock_234733321

Let’s Talk Money!

Characteristic of Effective Learning: Being Involved and Finding out and Exploring Area of Learning and Development: Communication and Language Enabling Environment

  • Provide a money box full of foreign / old currency for the children to look at and talk about again and again
  • Magnifiers will support the children in looking more closely at the coins
  • Internet access (possibly on a tablet) will help the children to be in charge of their own research. A good website to use together is http://worldcoingallery.com/Inst-ID/index.html
  • A world map or a globe

Positive Relationships Look through the coins together, let the children take the lead and develop a sense of fascination.  Possible avenues to follow with the children… “Isn’t it funny how the coins look different, I wonder why?” “I wonder which coin is worth the most?” “I wonder which coin is the oldest / travelled the furthest? I wonder how we could find out?” “I wonder what kind of journey the coins have been on to get here?” “How are these coins like the ones we use?” I wonder where the coins in my money box will end up?” Depending upon the ability of the children you could make up the story of a coin together. Where has it been? Whose pocket has it been in?  What has it been used to pay for? Where might it go next? You could act as scribe to draw the story as a map for the children on a long roll of paper (a till roll might be a good idea). This could then be provided in the writing area for the children to independently make up their own coin stories over time.

 Money Talks 

Characteristic of Effective Learning:   Concentrating and Keeping on Trying Area of Learning and Development: Communication and Language Enabling Environment

  • A wallet / purse for the practitioner
  • Provide 2 sets of the same coins. One set should be placed in front of the children so that they can see. The second set should be hidden in the practitioners purse / wallet

Positive Relationships There are two ways to play with the coins- depending upon the needs of the children. The practitioner secretly chooses a coin from the purse and describes the coin to the children. Can they listen carefully, process and deduce the coin being described? This is a great opportunity to model key vocabulary relating to the similarities and differences of the coins. Following a number of demonstrations, can one of the children offer a description for the others to guess?

The practitioner secretly choses a coin from the purse. The children have to ask questions in order to deduce which coin has been chosen. The children will undoubtedly find this tricky because the tendency is to guess rather than question to find out the answer. They may benefit from having fewer coins to start with, with more obvious differences. They will need plenty of modelling from the practitioner too.

Fast Finance

Characteristic of Effective Learning:  Active Learning, Being involved and Concentrating

Area of Learning and Development: Physical and Mathematical Development Enabling Environment

  • A money box
  • A 1 minute sandtimer
  • Coins of the same value (1p or 1 Euro for counting in 1’s, 2ps or 2 Euros for counting in 2’s etc. – depending upon the ability of the group)
  • Whiteboard and pen for keeping score

Positive Relationships Set the children the individual challenge of posting as many coins as they can into the money box in 1 minute. Count out the amount posted, record the score and then play again. Facilitate taking turns, timing one another and keeping score. Encourage the children to take on these roles for themselves to play with greater independence as play continues. 2015-01-17 14.29.16

“My favourite Christmas present this year! Great inspiration for using with foreign coins to inspire children in the EYFS and beyond!” The Learning Lady

How much have I got?

Characteristic of Effective Learning: Make links Area of Learning and Development: Mathematics Enabling Environment

  • Provide 1 or more purse / wallet / handbag per child in the group, filled with coins
  • Coins of the same value (1p or 1 Euro for counting in 1’s, 2ps or 2 Euros for counting in 2’s etc. – depending upon the ability of the group)

Positive Relationships Make sure the children have had lots of time to experiment with the coins and, if required, have had lots of practise at counting orally in the multiples of the coins they are playing with. Take one purse at a time. Ask the children to guess how much might be inside by shaking  and handling it. Can the children make a logical estimation or do they just guess a random amount?  Modelling some examples may be beneficial: “I think it’s got to be more than 1 Euro because it made a jingling sound like coins knocking together.” “I don’t think it could be 50 Euros because I don’t think that many would fit in the purse.” “I think I can hear 4 but it feels like 6.”

Let The Penny Drop!

Characteristic of Effective Learning: Make Links, Be willing to have a go

Area of Learning and Development: Mathematics  Enabling Environment

  • A money box
  • Coins of the same value (1p or 1 Euro for counting in 1’s, 2ps or 2 Euros for counting in 2’s etc. – depending upon the ability of the group)

Positive Relationships

Make sure the children have had lots of time to experiment with the coins and, if required, have had lots of practise at counting orally in the multiples of the coins they are playing with.

Talk to the children about the values of different coins and about how counting in multiples is an easy way to work out amounts. Try some examples all together with the coins before continuing with the game.

Turn away from the children- holding the money box and the coins. Post a number of coins into the money box. As the coins are posted, expect the children to count in the correct multiple to guess the amount in the money box. Listen to their ideas then check the amount in the money box. Were the children right?

Repeat the game with different amounts, facilitating turn taking as different children have a go at posting secret amounts

This is a good game for more able children to play together as a challenge activity. Optimized-money 1

Stacking and Sorting

Characteristic of Effective Learning:  Having their own ideas, Choosing Ways to do things, Be willing to have a go

Area of Learning and Development: Understanding the World Enabling Environment

  • Money bags, envelopes, old yoghurt pots, muffin trays
  • Ensure that mark making apparatus is close at hand to record the results. This might include items such as chalks, clipboards, whiteboards and pens or ICT equipment

Positive Relationships

Demonstrate how the children can sort the coins in different ways according to similarities and differences. Consider elements such as size, shape and material. Show  different ways of stacking and organising

Encourage the children to think about their own ways of recording their sorting by making marks or taking photos.Support the children in taking turns and sharing the resources fairly. Look listen and note and develop their understanding through effective questioning and modelling.

“Great activities to try if your class have been reading about the giant and his sack of gold coins in Jack and the Beanstalk”- The Learning Lady

Money Men

Characteristic of Effective Learning:  Having their own ideas, Choosing Ways to do things, Be willing to have a go

Area of Learning and Development: Creative Development

Enabling Environment Coins sorted by size, shape and material (as above)

Positive Relationships

Talk to the children about how they can use the different coins as loose parts to make pictures of ‘money men’.  Begin an example, talking through the decisions you make and how the money man is adapted and changed as you develop your ideas.

Expect the children make their own money men, encouraging them to record their own work by photographing the finished results. Challenge the children to work out the value of their men. Who has made the cheapest? The most expensive? Is the largest man always the one which I worth the most money? Show the children how to draw around the coins to make pictures too.

Leave this out as a creative activity for the children to explore and develop creatively for themselves.

Coin Rubbing

Characteristic of Effective Learning:  Be willing to have a go, Playing with what they know

Area of  Learning and Development: Creative Development 

Enabling Environment

  • Provide a range of old / foreign coins
  • Offer a range of paper, of different types of thickness and a range of artists media such as crayons, pencils, felt tips, chalks

Positive Relationships

Talk together about the patterns on the coins and explain how rubbings can be made to guess which coin is under a piece of paper. Explain that some types of paper and writing materials are better than others for making coin rubbings, and that it is up to the children to work out which are the best and why.

Support the children in their experiments. Encourage discussion about different results, why things happen and what might be more effective. The emphasis is on the process rather than the product.

Comment on the way in which the investigation is working better with some materials / media than others.

  • Model the language of description.
  • Talk together, commenting on the patterns, similarities and differences and agree the materials and equipment which should be left out for coin rubbing in further sessions.

“Stick magnetic strip onto the coins and use them as an ongoing resource with the magnetic boards.” The Learning Lady Optimized-money 2 (1) The Learning Lady Method

“Playing with what they know is a key element required for children to develop the characteristics of effective learners. Money is a great example of just that. Invariably we all have some coins at home and random foreign currency is a really easy resource to collect from friends and family. Let’s face it, we all usually come home from our holidays with a pocketful and then forget we had it as our tans start to fade!

Coins are becoming ever more fascinating as more and more adults pay using cards online and make contactless payments in the shops. So, put away the plastic coins, get some old wallets, money bags from the bank and break into your piggy bank!”

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