Learning the value of money and exchanges can be challenging. My 7yo is very sensitive to not understanding a concept and will try to fake it (guessing wildly) and quickly get upset if I show the slightest bit of disappointment. Hard not to reveal when you've been working on a concept slowly, over and over for an hour. I gave up the first time because I have a hard time not seeing things logically. In my head it seems so simple, and then I get flustered when my seemingly easy explanations aren't understood.
So, the first day we had to take a breather. Then I realized I was missing an important tool: manipulatives and visuals. I had him get his little plastic money bank out and put the coins in piles according to likeness. I explained what a quarter, dime, nickle and penny looked like and on a piece of paper, placed one of each, with it's value above it. He was to create a pile of each above the paper.
Next, I explained how a penny is .01 cents, a nickle is .05 cents and so on. The concept of value is very hard to convey. We had to go over it quite a bit. One nickle is .05 cents and one penny is .01 cents so how many pennies makes one nickle? We actually started with dimes and counting by tens because that was easy. To show that if I have 5 dimes and each dime is .10 cents, when I add them up I can add the ones and then put a zero on the end. This was easier to understand and the flash of realization on his face was so rewarding. He knows that 5 + 5 = 10, but to count by fives is a little harder. Quarters are still being worked on, but pennies, nickles and dimes are easier after today.
So next I would give him four dimes and I would have ten pennies and ask him, "If I don't want so many pennies in my pocket, (cause it's heavy) how many dimes can I buy with the pennies I have? Then we would work up using the pile of pennies and dimes at our disposal until he had a good grasp of exchanging pennies for dimes, or the other way around. Then nickles and pennies, nickles and dimes, etc.
What sorts of tricks did you use, if any, when teaching value and money exchange?