**How Do You Stack Up?**

Robert Foote Walt Disney Magnet School

4140 N. Marine Drive

Chicago IL 60613

(312) 534-5844

**Objectives**:

Students will estimate the number of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters in

a plastic bag.

Students will build stacks of each coin.

Students will find the thickness of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter after

measuring their stacks.

Students will measure to the nearest centimeter using a ruler.

Students will determine how high a stack of $1000 is in pennies, nickels, dimes

and quarters.

**Materials needed**:

4 plastic bags rulers

486 pennies 250 nickels

470 dimes 73 quarters

chalk

**Strategy**:

Have four volunteers hold up four bags with pennies, nickels, dimes, and

quarters. Have each class member write down on a piece of paper which bag has

the most coins and which has the most money. Then give the bags to different

groups to count. Write the results of each count on the board. Have the group

with the most coins split them in half so each group can have a group of coins.

Next, have each group (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters) predict how many of

each coin they can stack without falling. Write predictions on board and then

let the groups stack. Have students imagine a stack of coins $1000 high. How

high would that stack reach? Give the following statistics as a comparison: A

basketball player is 2 meters(m) tall, the ceiling of most buildings is 4 m, the

height of a 10 story building is 40 m, and the height of the Sears Tower is

440 m. Students may graph each of these and then graph where each stack would

fall. To calculate the thickness of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter, have

students measure their stacks and divide by the number of coins. They will then

have a good approximation of the thickness of each coin.

**Performance Assessment**:

Using either the measured thicknesses or the standard thickness for each coin,

have students determine how high a stack of 50 pennies, nickels, dimes and

quarters would be.

**References**:

Page, David and Philip Wagreich. **Maneuvers with Nickels and Numbers**. Dale

Seymour Publications, 1990.

Return to Physics Index