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Let’s Not Neglect the Basics

The Teachers’ Lounge

The evolution of technology has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on education and student learning. At the same time, there have been a few academic casualties that may have been tightly correlated with our dependence on technology to do our thinking for us. The casualty of which I speak relates to students’ ability to count money and make change.

For many students, a problem area on the STAAR test was related to counting money and making or identifying change. It is not unusual for students of all ages to have difficulty figuring out how much one or multiple items cost, if they have enough to pay for something or how much change they should receive. While I am not particularly surprised at this finding, I am saddened by it.

Like the ability to read and tell time, the ability to count and manage money is essential to functioning effectively in society. There was once a time where parents taught their children how to identify coins, count money and make change. It seems the contemporary thought is to defer money education to that which happens in the school setting. The problem with that idea is that the time spent teaching values of bills and coins is relatively brief and relies on foundational knowledge of money awareness. Without the prerequisite knowledge of coin and bill values, mastery of money concepts can be significantly hindered.


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