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Another estimating lesson using money




4, 5, 6  

Jeff Anger & Susan Marchionda
Grades 4 – 6

Would You Rather Have?

*Process can be done individually, in pairs, or small groups

Materials Needed:




Nickels and Pennies



Part I

Allow children to work in pairs. Distribute materials to each pair of students. Pose the question “Would you rather have… a) your height stacked in pennies (or), b) your height in nickels stacked end to end. Ask the students to first estimate an answer and write it down somewhere they can refer to it later. Then ask the children to solve the problem using any of the materials provided in any way most comfortable for them. Have the students check their actual calculated answer with their estimate to see if their estimation was accurate. Some students will finish faster than the others. Have those who finish move on to the second part.

Part II

As a second part of this activity, pose the question, “Using which ever coin you decided that you would like your height stacked in, estimate the total price of you or your partner’s height. Have the students write this estimation down in a safe place. Using any of the materials provided have the students calculate the actual answer and check their estimation to see if they correctly estimated.


When everyone is finished with Part I (or Part II if you wish that the activity last longer), let each pair of students with the correct answer have a turn explaining their answer and comparing their estimation aloud to the class. For those students who were quick and completed Part II, have them do the same, explaining their estimation and answer aloud.

Note: The second part of this activity is not necessary when completing this activity, but may be helpful in occupying those students who have quickly mastered the first part.

Extensions: This activity may be altered by using different coin values or different objects.

Source: Minneapolis General Math Project, A Reasonably Close Encounter: Estimation Skills. California: Dale Seymour Publications, 1983.

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