Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.
In order to help our students develop deep conceptual understanding of mathematics concepts, they need to understand that numbers can be represented many different ways. This little freebie workstation has cards showing three different representations for money amounts: a dollar sign and decimal point, a collection of coins, and the cent symbol.
First, have students sort the cards into piles by the type of representation. Let them discuss generalizations they notice. One thing that’s important is for them to recognize that the dollar sign comes before the number, but the cent sign comes after. Because we say 24 dollars, and they hear the word dollars after the amount, they often write it just like they say it.
Next, let the kiddos sort the cards from greatest to least or least to greatest. It’s good for them to have to order the amounts using different representations. Also, greatest to least and least to greatest are always a trouble spot, so you can’t give kids too much practice with it.