Monday, 8 February 2016

Twenty Pence Giveaway

I love really simple ideas and simple activities for teaching.  I often see worksheets used in the classroom where more time is spent explaining the activity than in teaching and learning.  So, here is the Twenty Pence Giveaway game.  It is a powerful tool for teaching the concepts of exchange and place value, as well as providing lots of practice in counting and mental calculation.  It has the great virtue of needing very little equipment - a dice, a few 20p pieces and an assortment of 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p coins.

Each player starts with a 20p coin.  The object of the game is to get rid of your 20p.  The bank in the middle contains all the change, and that's where you put the money you give away.

The first player throws the dice.  Say they throw a 4.  They change their 20p into any combination of coins that will allow them to put 4p into the bank.  Beginners may well want to change the 20p into 20 1p coins.  They should be allowed to do this.  It takes ages and often other players will suggest simpler ways to do it.  I often find that even children who have appeared to understand the way coins work are not absolutely sure about how to make these exchanges, and the game gives them valuable, confidence-building experience.

The game continues until someone manages to give all their money away.  Sooner or later someone will say, as they start to change their 20p into ones in order to give away 4p - "Hey, I don't need to take 20 ones and give back 4.  I can just take 16 and it's done."  It can take a long time for children to get to this stage, but until they do you can be sure that they do not really understand the idea of 'change'.

As children get better at playing they can try playing Fifty Pence Giveaway, or £1 Giveaway.  And if you have access to some place value equipment - cubes, tens rods, hundred squares as invented by Z P Dienes you can play exactly the same game with them.  One Hundred Giveaway takes quite a while, but if you run out of time the person with the least amount left is the winner.

Once children know the rules they can play in pairs or small groups on their own.

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