Source:  Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. Understanding by Design. Merrill Prentice Hall: 1998.
 For further information about Backward Design refer to

Title: Counting With Pennies   Subject/Course: Addition/Subtraction

Topic: Math   Grade(s): Kindergarten   Designer(s): Yasmeen J. Burgess

Stage 1 – Desired Results

Established Goal (s)

The children  will use pennies to complete addition word problem.

The children  will use pennies to complete subtraction word problem.

The children will use pennies to understand "0" zero/none concept

QCC Standards

Grade: K Mathematics

Geometry & Spatial Sense; Measurement 10

Topic: Money

Standard: Names and identifies coins (penny, nickel, dime, and quarter) and dollar bills.

Grade: K


Problem Solving 23

Topic: Problem Solving

Standard: Models, acts out, or uses pictures to solve simple problems.



Understanding(s) Students will understand the following concepts and vocabulary

1.      The word “add” and the “+”addition sign

2.      The word “subtract and the”-“ subtraction sign

3.      The concept of "adding pennies"

4.      The concept of  "taking pennies away"

5.       The concept of "counting out pennies"

6.      The concept of zero “0” and none.

Essential Question(s)

1.      How do we add our pennies?

2.      How do we subtract pennies?

3.      What is none or zero?


Students will know...

How to add Pennies from 1 to 10

How to subtract Pennies from 1 to 10

Students will add & subtract pennies by spending some of their pennies, then counting how many pennies are left.



Students will be able to...

S Count different combinations of pennies

   Add different combinations of pennies.

  Subtract different combinations of pennies.

 Use and apply the addition and subtraction    sign.

Understand addition and subtraction concepts.

Understand the concept of zero and none left

Read with comprehension a one step word problem on addition and subtraction using numbers 0 through 10.


Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence


Performance Task(s)

After teaching the key concepts the teacher will write the addition sign and the subtraction sign on the board and have the students identify each. The teacher will ask the students to explain adding pennies, subtracting pennies and zero pennies. The teacher will use “visual cues” large pennies on the board to teach each concept.

The teacher will write out word problems on the board and have students use their pennies to calculate their answers.


Other Evidence

Student observations

The teacher will end lesson with three questions, an addition question, a subtraction question and a question resulting in the answer being zero. She will ask the students to write their answers on a plastic plate with dry erase markers then hold them up. The teacher will then have a quick assessment on who grasped the concepts.





Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Learning Activities

The children will use pennies to complete addition and subtraction word problems and the concept of zero that the teacher will read.

The children will have a clear plastic bag with ten pennies each.   Explain that some of the problems read will be addition--where they will add  pennies. When we add we use the addition or plus sign. For example:

Andy had five pennies. The children count out five pennies.

His mother gave him four more pennies. The children add four more pennies.

How many pennies did Andy have in all? The children count the pennies. Write 5+4=9 on the board to model how to correctly write an addition sentence.

Some of the problems will be subtraction--where you have to take some pennies away. When we subtract we use the subtraction or take away sign.

For example:

Andy had nine pennies. The children count out nine pennies.

He spent seven to buy a candy bar. The children take seven of the nine pennies away.

How many pennies did Alexander have left?

Write 9-7=2 on the board to model how to correctly write a subtraction sentence.