Saturday, April 28, 2012

Making Change and Fishy Adjectives

We’ve moved on in our money study and are officially starting to make change. I know that this has been a very difficult skill for some of my previous third and fourth graders to master…so I’ve been semi-dreading this.

I've thought a lot about how to present it to my students to take advantage of the skills they’ve been working so hard to master this year. Here is what I came up with: Fact Families. I don’t know if this is how other teachers are teaching this, my curriculum does not present it this way. It just kind of magically expects them to start counting up, while simultaneously drawing the coins that match and then adding up what they counted up to say how much change is needed…that’s a lot of steps in 1 lesson!

Here is the Making Change Anchor Chart that I used:
I talked about fact families with the kids and how if we know 2 numbers we can find the third. We practiced with familiar fact families.Then we did some really easy making change word problems all together, I plugged in the numbers always referring to the anchor chart.

Example: “Max bought a toy for 30₵. He paid with 50₵. How much change does he need?”

Then we practiced counting up using mental math or the hundred chart.
Then my students went to their desks and we did this with white boards. Students had to make a fact family triangle and then plug in the numbers in the right spots on the triangle as I told them word problems. Then they would try and find the missing number by counting up – showing me their number sentence.


This is how I started and time will tell if this is successful or not. In this very brief first lesson most of my students were getting the hang of this, but this was guided and not independent work. I’ll keep you posted!

On another note, my future teammate and I got together for another 1/2 project.  This time we worked on adjectives and cognates (those words that are super similar in English and Spanish).  We worked on describing the ocean, fish and creatures in the ocean.  We had to think of the adjectives in both languages – this can be a challenge for all involved.  I find it interesting how some words just don’t translate well between languages. Here you an see our first step:

It was fun, a little bit stressful, but overall worth it. We did our adjective work and then did a fun art project.

Step 1: Paint paper to look like ocean – we mixed green and blue and some fun sparkly paint.

Step 2: Pass out tinfoil to students.  If you have rubbing texture plate thin-a-ma-bobs you can use those too!  We got some from our art teacher, but it didn’t work very well.  Crumpling up the tinfoil works too!
Using sharpies students draw the outline of a sea creature.  We could fit 3 on our sheet.  They need to color these with sharpie as well (some regular markers worked and some didn’t).  Don’t use fine point sharpies, only the thick tip sharpies.

Step 3: Cut out and glue onto the dry ocean.

Step 4: Add adjective work and display!

Mrs. Castro Pin It


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! They turned out way better than I expected!

  2. Singapore Math has a unit bar strategy for problem solving and I found that it helped SO much with 'part-part-whole'! I haven't thought to use it for making change, but I bet it would work really well! I bet the fact family analogy really helped, too.

    I always seem to get ideas from you!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad