Coins and Bills for Low Beginners

Posted by Nancy Callan on 2 April 2013 | 1 Comments

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As tax season approaches, we often teach a unit on money. With low beginners, I structure my unit around learning numbers, counting, asking and saying prices, the names of bills and coins, and finally the task of asking for change. I've put together some exercises for Canadian and American teachers on asking for change.

After my students have mastered numbers and dollar amounts, we work on the names of coins. Here is a basic matching exercise for literacy level that practices the Canadian coins for the following asking for change exercise. You can cut out the cards and use them in a variety of ways. 


From there we move on to making sentences we will use for our task of asking for change. Click on the image below to download this worksheet and use it in your own classes. 

I brainstorm with students what we may need change for: a washing machine, a parking meter, a bus, a shopping cart, a pay phone and a vending machine are common answers.

Here is the Canadian worksheet with the answer YES. Click on it to view it large on your computer and download it for use in your own class. 

Click here for the American version. 

Here is the Canadian worksheet with the answer NO. Click on the image below. 

Click here for the American version. 

Once students have mastered these dialogues in class, they may be ready to leave the classroom and practice asking for change in the real world. I take my students down the street to a Town Pantry or 7-11 store connected to a gas station. I approach the clerks first to ask if they are willing to assist in the activity. I assure them we will move aside if any customers enter. I make sure to provide lots of change for the clerks, so they are not required to potentially give away change. I exchange my coins for the clerk's bills and hand them to the students. 

Students often tell me that their hearts are racing before they head up to the counter. What a feeling of success when they return with correct change! For many of them, it's the first time they have used English in a real life setting to accomplish a task. It's a memorable activity that brings the classroom study into a practical, useful context. 

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