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Time and Money:

Cardboard Cash Register


Today's Snack: For this activity, you can use small cardboard boxes OR leftover plastic containers to make your own cash register. If you like those little snack packs that combine cheese or peanut butter dip with crackers, save them for a while. Wash with soap and water, and dunk in a solution of a gallon of water and a quarter-cup of bleach. Let dry. Then you can tape five of them together for this activity! Save one for your own snack today, and have a glass of milk with it.





At least four each of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills

Small cardboard boxes | masking tape or duct tape

Print out the money amounts, below



  1. Here's how to "make change" in your mastery of the basic math facts. You do it by . . . making change! Using coins and dollar bills, that is.


  1. First, make a little cardboard cash register out of small cardboard boxes or plastic containers, such as the snackpacks described in Today's Snack, above. If you're going to play this as a game, make two cash registers.


  1. To make one, tape five containers side by side from the bottom.


  1. Fill the register, from left to right, in this order, with: dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.


  1. Print out this list, below, and cut the dollar amounts apart, or cut up some scratch paper and copy these or make up your own dollar amounts. Make them under $5.


  1. To play, mix up the cards and place face down. Taking turns, turn over a card, and as fast as you can, collect the coins or bills that add up to that amount and place them on the table in front of you.


  1. For $4.87, for example, you'd pull out the four dollar bills, three quarters, one dime, and two pennies.


  1. Another game: when you turn over the card, then make change from $5.00 from that amount. This will build your subtraction skills! So if you turn over $4.87, you will need to collect one dime and three pennies - because 13 cents + $4.87 = $5.00.


  1. Older students can try turning over two cards and adding them in their heads, then collecting the change to represent that amount. You might need nine dollar bills if you play that game, in case you happen to pull $4.39 and $4.87. After you've played this game for a while, you will know it's going to be over nine dollars!




$1.04 $1.16 $1.28 $1.56 $2.37



$2.76 $3.15 $3.93 $4.39 $4.87



By Susan Darst Williams Math 2012

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