Drop, Sort and Count!

K, 1, 2
The purpose of this lesson is for the students to work cooperatively and recognize behaviors that help them learn. Students will recognize and sort different coins as well as state their face value. They will group coins to make a dollar.
Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period
The learners will:
  • visually distinguish between a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.
  • recite the value of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.
  • recognize and sort coins.
  • add coins together to make a dollar.
  • Classroom jar of money collected over this unit
  • Visual aid that illustrates the value of the different coins for student reference
Home Connection 
The teacher should do an individual assessment while the sorting is going on which will include the following things:a) Recognize a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.b) Verbalize the value of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.c) Second-grade teachers can assess if the children can skip count the value of each coin to achieve the value of one dollar accurately on their own.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Review the appearance and value of the penny, nickel, dime and quarter. Use visual aids or supply enough coins that the children can easily see the attributes of each coin. While the students are looking at the coins, talk about each coin. Ask the students to name the coin, tell how they knew what it was, describe what it looks like, tell its value and count by multiples of its value (1’s, 5’s, 10’s or 25’s) up to one hundred. Also review the signs for dollars and cents.

  2. Next, ask the children, “Now that you are ready to sort and count change…shall we see how much money we have collected?” Build children’s excitement so the teacher can go over to retrieve the container of coins…but on the way back “accidentally” spill the coins.
  3. The teacher should then say something like, “Oh No! How am I ever going to get all this change picked up quickly?” The children’s likely response will be to help pick up the change. The teacher could then agree that if they all work together and pick it up quickly, the class will have more time to participate in the following activities.
  4. Ask for volunteers to help pick up the pennies, and have different groups pick up dimes, nickels and quarters. At this time, the class is doing a large sort. They are only collecting the coins that they were instructed to collect. This will show whether the children can differentiate the coins.
  5. Tell the children that they should place all the pennies in a designated area. Designate an area for the other coins, as well. The children should remain at the area where they placed their coins when they are done.
  6. After all of the coins have been sorted, the children will be working with the coins that they collected. The children will need to put their coins in groups that equal $1.00. After each group is done, they should count how many groups of one dollar they have made.
  7. Ask each group how many dollars they have made and tally on the board to find out a total. Find a class total by counting the tally marks with the students by fives, then ones. Count the remaining coins by grouping and counting with the students’ help.
  8. Write the total on a piece of paper. Tape the paper to the side of the jar. The students help you put the money back in the jar. Talk about what you might be able to buy with that money (a winter coat, soup for 40 people, etc.).
  9. Finally, have a class discussion about how nice it was working together to clean up the change. Talk about how working together is one way that we learn better. Explain that this is one time that you don’t need permission to act charitably—working together or helping others - should be done without hesitation because we are part of a community.
  10. Tell the students that tomorrow (or whatever day you choose) is the last day they can bring in money for their donation. Then they will bring (send) the money to the organization.
The partners complete an artistic rendition of a flower or bunch of flowers and communicate their reactions to the experience. (See Attachment One.) Teacher observation of students in discussions and cooperative activities

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.8 Describe classroom behaviors that help the students learn.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.7 Give classroom examples of when a student does not need the teacher's permission to act philanthropically.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service