10 Pick-a-Coin

One of the skills being practiced is entering money amounts with a decimal point into a calculator. When it comes time to add the totals for the grand total, remind students to look at the calculator screen after each entry to make sure the decimal point is in the right place. (We’ve also been learning how calculators do not show the zero in the ones place on amounts like $3.40. On a calculator, students must learn to read 3.4 as $3.40.)

Another skill being practiced is adding up a row of money in their heads. For example: one finished turn might look like this: .04     .15     .20     .75     5.00. In class we talked about how to save the dollars and pennies till last and focus on totaling the nickel, dime, and quarter amounts first. The amounts determined by the die will probably not be so high that the students can’t add up the money in their heads. If they are having trouble, model how you would do it. There are some cases when they will have some tough amounts to add, but there are plenty of other times when they can learn to total the amounts by watching you.

The students have been asked to play the game three times. Try not to play the game all three times in one night. Perhaps spread it over three evenings. I have included extra papers in case you’d like to have them play more, particularly if you’d like them to try a variation. You may go directly to the variations rather than play it the basic way.


Here are variations of the game that you and the students might try.

  1. Use two dice to determine the amount of money for each space. (This will probably make adding in their heads more difficult so they could use the calculator for this part too.)
  2. Instead of going in order, throw the die and then decide which space you want to use it for. In that way, if you roll a six right off the bat, you can put it in the dollars instead of in the pennies. This gives students practice in looking at the probability of numbers coming up on subsequent rolls.
  3. If you roll a one, you get another roll, and may add the one to whatever the next roll is.