Adult Ed
Pocket Change


Introductory Activities
Learning Activities
Culminating Activity
Cross-curricular Extensions
Community Connections

Introductory Activities

  1. Go to the CYBERCHASE Web site and play the Poodle Weigh-In game. Navigate the page by monitoring how much the scales change as a result of adding weight to the pan on the right. Click on the weights at the bottom right-hand side of the screen. If the amount added is too little, the pan on the left will be lower than the pan on the right. Notice how the middle of the scale indicates whether the pans are equal or unequal.

Learning Activities

  1. Log onto the WWW Multipurpose Interactive Server, Arithmetic tables Web site. Begin the activity by selecting the "Arithmetic tables" link from this interactive site. Start with a 2x2 arithmetic table.

  2. To begin, drag and drop values from the blue boxes into the table to create sums that are equivalent to the end value in each row and column. Once you are confident that you know how to complete natural sums for small tables, increase the number of columns, then rows, you use to find natural sums. As an advanced skill, you can change the "Type of objects" parameter to include fractions, decimals or complex numbers.

Culminating Activity

  1. Use the WHAT'S IN MY POCKET? Worksheet to practice performing calculations.

  2. Using either a pile of loose change (from a piggy bank, pocket or purse) or imitation coins, calculate the sum of a random handful of coins.

  3. NOTE: To make imitation coins, copy and paste several of the coin images from the worksheet into a blank document. Cut out the pictures and glue them to cardboard or index cards; carefully cut the coin outlines and let them dry.

  4. Calculate the amount of money (in cents) in your pile and enter the answers on the worksheet.

    NOTE: Sample calculation:

    money table 1

  5. Complete the following word problems - use the sample calculation as a guide as to how to answer the word problems.

    money table 2

  6. Sample calculation: Jennifer has 3 dimes, 2 quarters, 17 pennies and 8 nickels. How much money does she have? This information can be represented in the following ways:
    • Value expression (in cents):
    • 3(10) + 2(25) +17(1) + 8(5)
    • Algebraic Expression:
    • 3D + 2Q + 17P + 8N
    • Value expression (in dollars):
    • 3(0.10) + 2(0.25) + 17(0.01) + 8(0.05)
    • Answer: $1.37 (137)

    Word Problems
    • Joan has 4 dimes and 3 quarters in a bag. How much money is in the bag?

    • A washing machine that accommodates a 100-pound load of clothes costs $8.75. How many quarters will be required to have the equivalent of $8.75?

    • Ahmad has $3.86 in coins. If he has 6 pennies, 2 dollar coins, 2 quarters and the rest are dimes, how many dimes does he have?

    • Gladys has 5 of every coin type in her purse. If she donates $4.00 during a charity coin drive, how much money does she have left?

    • Is it possible to have $6.87 in coins if only three of the coins are pennies? Explain your answer.

    • Describe at least two ways that you could make $4.55 with ten or fewer coins.

  7. Once you have answered the above word problems check your answers against the Word Problem Answer Key.

  8. Challenge yourself by completing this exercise in dollars rather than cents. When you use the dollar notation, the values will include a decimal.

    money table 3


Cross-Curricular Extensions

  • GED Connections, Episode 29 "Problem solving" airs on Thirteen/WNET on January 11, 2005. The episode will give your students tips on ways to solve various types of math problems that they will likely see on the GED Test.

  • Video on Demand: Math Factor: Combinations
  • Use Video on Demand technology to help your student learn advanced algebra techniques for calculating combinations and choices. Stream or download the 29-minute video which explains how algebraic relationships make the work of figuring out numerical possibilities simple. Your students will also gain insight into the ways to use a calculator to solve the same problems. New York educators are granted free access to the Video on Demand service. For more information please contact
History Community Connections
  • Visit the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia or Denver as part of your next family vacation. Observe the minting process first hand. If you can't make it, use the U.S. Mint Web site to view detailed video of the process instead.