Making Sense of Money

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In fourth grade, your child will use the four operations to solve word problems involving money. In order to do this, she will first learn to decompose, or break apart, one dollar into smaller units. We call these units: quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies.

Ask your child: How many quarters make up one dollar? How many quarters make up two dollars?

Think about nickels: How many nickels make one dollar? She knows one dollar is one-hundred cents, so she might skip count by five to one-hundred. There are twenty nickels in one-hundred cents!

When using money, it’s very important to consider the units. One dollar can be written like this or like this. Five cents can be this or this.

With practice, your child will understand all the ways we represent money and be comfortable using decimal notation. Find opportunities to talk about money with your child so she can problem solve with confidence!

And that’s good to know.


This video addresses Common Core Grade 4 Standard Measurement & Data: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.

(4.MD.2) Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

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