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Counting Money Lesson Plans: Using Service Learning Projects for Practice

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 2/8/2012

Service learning projects are important to teach students about volunteering and giving of themselves to others. But you can also incorporate some of your curriculum goals for other subjects into your service learning projects. One simple math objective to meet is counting money.

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    How the Lesson Works

    1. Introduce service learning projects to your students. For these counting money lesson plans, you can do any service learning project where you collect or earn change and small bills to raise money for some cause. In my classroom, we collected money to save the rainforest. We coordinated this with Earth Day activities.
    2. Implement the service learning project in your classroom or school. With my class's rainforest project, my students made penny containers for other classrooms, the office, the library, and the cafeteria. They also created signs and letters to inform others about the project.
    3. The next step in this lesson plan is to make sure your students have a basic understanding of counting money.
    4. Collect your change when the project is over and have a counting money day. It is a good idea to have several parent volunteers in your classroom on this day. When doing math lesson plans with service learning projects, volunteers can always help.
    5. Divide the students into small groups and distribute some of your change to each group. Provide each group with a worksheet that focuses them on a math objective while counting money. For example, if you want students to work on counting money in increments of $5.00, then the worksheet will instruct them to do this. Each group should have a parent volunteer to supervise the counting during counting money lesson plans.
    6. When each group is finished counting, they announce how much money their group counted. As a class, find your total amount. Then figure how much money you raised all together and what this money will do to help the world. For example with our rainforest project, we figured out how many acres of rainforest we saved once we knew our total amount of money we collected.
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    Service Learning Projects to Try

    Counting money lesson plans can center around any of these service learning projects:

    Nothing But Nets--This is a program that has been receiving a lot of attention lately because Ashton Kutcher and CNN have been racing to get 1,000,000 followers on Twitter to help raise money for Nothing But Nets. Ashton Kutcher won the race, but your students can help fight malaria too by raising change to buy mosquito nets for families in third world countries. The nets are easy to purchase through the Nothing But Nets website.

    UNICEF has a program in October where children can collect change to help UNICEF programs while they also go trick-or-treating. UNICEF has several programs all over the world, and their website has resources for teachers and students.

    Local community programs around your school will benefit from raising money. For example, you could create your own penny containers and raise money for your local animal shelter and do a counting money lesson plan. You could extend this service learning project into an actual field trip to a pet store to purchase products and then take them to the animal shelter as a class.