BLENNZ Learning Library

Te Kotuituinga Mātauranga Pura o Aotearoa

Maths money for Level 1 braille student


Tactually learning to recognise NZ coins

Figure 1 Learning to tactually recognise NZ coins

Ben is a 12 year old intermediate student who is working at Level 1 numeracy.  This year, he is using braille as his primary learning tool.  Prior to this, he was learning braille and print.

Ben has an individual learning programme and is integrated into class activities as appropriate.  In figure 1 Ben is learning to tactually recognise NZ coins.

Ben’s BLENNZ Resource Teacher Vision Trish Bishop talks about how a numeracy program focusing on life skills is helping Ben develop confidence and independence.

Increasing confidence and independence through life skills

Ben’s goals focus on increasing his confidence and independence through life skills.  His Numeracy programme is planned to integrate life skills into it.

Ben is learning to:

  • Recognize NZ coins tactually
  • Develop and use his number knowledge in  real life situations when using money.

Prerequisite skills

Ben using an adapted Hundreds board

Figure 2: Ben using an adapted Hundreds board


  • Knows his Basic facts to 20.
  • Knows doubles and halves.
  • Can read and braille numerals.
  • Understands the concept of tens and ones.

In figure 2 Ben is using an adapted Hundreds board.

Possible next steps

Exploring coin combinations

Figure 3 Exploring coin combinations

  • Learn the relative values of the different units of currency.
  • Learn the various combinations of coins that can equal a specific unit of money.
  • Learn to add money in groups of 10’s.
  • Develop knowledge in addition and subtraction,  learning  to add and subtract numbers between 0 and 100 using real life situations and money.
  • Solve problems:  Ben will have to decide how to work out the problem, is it plus or minus, how much money do I need, how much change should I get.
  • Learn values of notes, how many coins make up the note value.
  • How to fold and identify NZ notes.

In figure 3 Ben is exploring coin combinations.

Teaching methods and strategies

Exploring and doing: real coins and notes

  • Through tactual exploration, discover different edges of coins to aid identification: $2 $1 – rough/smooth; 50c – smooth edge;  20c – notched;  10c – smallest and smooth.
  • Sorting: sort coins and store in money clip.
  • Sort and discuss notes. Learn to fold notes: $5 – leave flat;  $10 – fold from end to end to become a square;  $20 – fold from top to bottom to become long and thin. $50 – fold like the $10 from end to end, a square, then from top to bottom to become a tent. $100 – fold like a $20 from top bottom, long and thin, then fold in one third each end.
  • Using real coins, build rows of coins that can be used to make up the value of each coin.

Problem solving

  • Provide cards with story sums.
  • Use known number knowledge to work out answers.

Real experiences

  • Set up a ‘play’ shop.  Provide Ben with a known value of money and a small shopping list of items. Ben will have to work out if he has enough money for the items purchased.  The value of shop items will be dictated by the objective:  counting/adding/subtracting 10’s, 5’s etc.
  • Visits to shops will follow these experiences.


  • Ben’s family will become involved with Ben brailling a shopping list (e.g. vegetables) and a sum of money and with their support, make purchases.

Learning adaptations

  • Real money,
  • Scaffolding the skills by providing practise in buying and paying for items in a ‘play’ situation,
  • Real experiences,
  • Adapted Hundreds board,
  • Brailled shopping lists.


During Ben’s IEP discussion the need for independence in daily life activities was identified.  This decision was supported by the following assessment:

  • Numeracy Student Profile.

Useful Links

More information

Email us at BLENNZ Online for more information about this subject.

We will link you up with either the author of this post or another BLENNZ colleague with whom you can continue your conversation.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Skip to toolbar