To Rosetta Primary School

Making Sense of Coins

Australian Coin Virtual Manipulatives


Get Flash This site uses Flash


About the Virtual Manipulatives

The following virtual manipulatives were developed at Rosetta Primary School to help our year 2 & 3 students learn about the value of Australian coins.

Manipulatives are generally defined as concrete models that incorporate mathematical concepts, they appeal to one or more of the senses and can be touched and moved around by students, some examples are materials as simple as counters to more specialized materials like MAB 10 blocks. A virtual manipulative is a type of  computer-based learning resources that is a dynamic visual representation of a concrete manipulative that can be manipulated by the user.

One of the difficulties in working with money is that although coins and notes are concrete models of themselves, they are not proportional in relation to their values. The ability of the computer to dynamically link concrete and symbolic representations makes it an ideal medium for developing instruction related to teaching the value of money. 

If you are using Internet Explorer 5 + then press F11 for best viewing.

These virtual manipulatives have been created using Flash 5 - so you will need the Flash Player installed on your computer to view them. The latest Flash Player is available for FREE via the Flash Player button at the top of this page.


Virtual Manipulatives

Aussie Coins - this virtual manipulative will generate a collection of coins up to the value of $12.
Students just input the amount i.e $10 or 65c. This object will also let students input values like 900c and $0.65. (Revised May 11, 2003)

Ways of Making - this virtual manipulative allows students to create an unlimited number of monetary values using different combinations of coins.

Money Bags - this virtual manipulative allows students to compare the monetary values of two collections of coins. Simply drag a coin to each money bag. To delete a coin for a money bag you just click on the coin you wish to remove. (Revised May 19, 2003)

Piggybank - This virtual manipulative allows students to enter a monetary value and then drag coins to the piggybank to represent the value. (Revised May 19, 2003)

Worksheet - this virtual manipulative allows students to create their own collection of coins, write about them and then print their work. It could be used use to create the "wallet" for the next activity. (Revised May 28, 2003)

Money in my wallet - this virtual manipulative is an interactive partner game that students can play using the coin collections they have created. The student with the "wallet" inputs a a monetary value into the game. The other student has to guess the amount using the clues that the student with the "wallet" has prepared. The student with the "wallet" also has to indicate if the value that their partners has indicated is more or less than the value in their "wallet". (Revised May 11, 2003)

The coin images used in these virtual manipulatives come from The Down Under Collection, published by New Horizons.


Activities and Ideas

While these virtual manipulatives are not tied to any particular task , here are some sample activities and ideas to get you started with them. To download the worksheets you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Ways of Making 

Students can use the following learning objects 

to explore and create different amounts of money. For example: 

"Find 5 different ways of making 1 dollar." 

You could get your students to start this task away from the computer and record their results using stamps or drawing or tracing the coins. The students could then move to the computer and check their results using on of the above virtual manipulatives. 

Finally the students might like to use the virtual manipulative to explore further ways of making their amount and record their findings on the Ways of Making Worksheet (PDF 20.9KB). 

How Many Coins? 

The Piggybank virtual manipulative helps students explore different ways of creating an amount of money. The student has to enter the amount of money they wish to make using a calculator like interface. This requires the student to enter amount using the correct syntax e.g. five dollars must be $5 or $5.00 not 5$ as it would be with five cents (5c). Here are some example worksheets: 

How Many Coins? (PDF 31 KB)- works with values up to $2.00 

How Many Coins?(Blank) (PDF 32KB) - the amounts in the piggy bank are blank, this allows the teacher to choose their own amounts. 

How long to make this amount? 

Using the Coin Calculator students can work in pairs, one student keeping the time with a stopwatch while the other has to make a given amount of money using the Coin Calculator. Using this method student could consider the following questions?

 "How long does it take to make $5.00 with the 5cent coin button?" 

"Which coin button will get you to $10.50 first, the 10 cent or the 50 cent button?" 

This manipulative is also very useful to explore the magnitude of numbers. Students could use it to consider the following type of problem. 

"If it takes 1 minute to make $10 with the 20 cent button, estimate how long would it take to make $100 with the 20 cent button?" 

Adding up money 

One colleague shared with me how she found that the Coin Calculator virtual manipulative was really useful for her students when they were working with amounts of money that were too big for them to mentally calculate. She related that her students had been working on an activity that involved adding up a shop docket. Normally when the number became too big for the students to use mental arithmetic they would use calculators. However, one of the problems with a calculator is that when it display an amount like $1.20, the display will show it as 1.2. My colleague said that her students found this very confusing and that the Coin Calculator learning object with the coin buttons and display that shows money correctly to 2 decimal places proved to be a very useful tool for this activity in her classroom.


Created by Andrew Cuthbertson
Sunday, 24 August 2003 04:00:27 PM