The students at the first grade level have learned about the basics of money with the recognition and value skills of the penny through the quarter. They are aware of the differences of color, shape, feel, and value. First grade teachers continue to work with their students to help improve their addition and subtraction skills (see counting money with coins) of the basic numbers of single placement to four place holders. First grade students will also learn the higher amounts of money and how to use the combination of both monetary values.
The teacher will begin with the review of the coins and then introduce the paper values of the dollar. The one dollar, five dollar, ten dollar, and twenty dollar bill will be shown. Then the teacher will ask the students what are the differences and similarities. This concept is first taught as a visual lesson, then monetary lesson, and lastly, how to combine the dollars and coin amounts.
One of the easiest ways to teach about the different dollar amounts is to use paper fake money (see play money). First, the teacher will show the real version of all the dollars and each student will have their own set of fake money to coincide with this display. A hand-out or workbook page will be used for the students to write down the correct value of each pictured bill. For example, the teacher holds up a five dollar bill; then she asks the class which bill she is holding. The entire class answers together, the five dollar bill, and then they write down the answer next to the picture on their practice sheet. This makes the lesson interactive, as well as helps the auditory and visual learners.
Each monetary value will be reviewed in this format of teaching for a few days before moving to the next concept. Once the students are ready, then they will have to identify the differences and similarities of the different bills. For example, a similarity is the color of the bills and the differences are the president’s faces and monetary values. Any of the extra markings and watermarks are not even mentioned since the focus is on the students learning how to use money.
Once all this is taught and repeated for a few lessons, now it is time to begin how to combine the two concepts of coins and dollar bills. Most of the adding and subtracting of money will be taught at the second grade level, but the basics can be started in first grade. The students can be partnered with each other and the teacher will call a monetary value out loud and the partners need to take their fake money to replicate the announced value. This focuses on cooperative learning, problem solving skills, auditory skills, and interactive learning. Every few times, a teacher can write the value on the board to help the visual learners as well.
The teacher gives each problem a total of three minutes to replicate the numerical value. Then she shows the correct answer to the students and the students have to keep track of how many they get right and wrong. Also, the teacher can have a hand out for the students so every number value is written on the sheet. There are many options of how to teach the basic concept of coin and dollar combination amounts and these are just a few of them.
Usually adding or subtracting is not introduced till second grade because students are still learning just how to use regular numbers to do arithmetic. By second grade, they should be ready for the more abstract concept of decimal points and following the decimal point throughout the problem.