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Students learn at Coin Carnival
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Jim Misunas Great Bend Tribune Students listen to instruction for a bean bag toss game (from left) Nikki Taylor, Adrian Kindle, Joanna Trimmer, Kylie Miller, Joseph Theis and Harley Obermiller.

LARNED — Phinney math teacher Joni Johnson said the second-graders at Phinney Elementary School mark their calendars for “Coin Carnival.”
She coordinates the annual spring Coin Carnival with Betty Halderman, Phinney math teacher. 
“The students really enjoy the experience and we have a lot of great volunteer help who make it all work,” said Johnson, who still had lost her voice by the end of the day.
Each student is given $2.45 to start their afternoon. When they rotate through nine stations, they must pay to participate and follow specific instructions for using coins in that area.
They play coin bingo, problem solve, throw beanbags and use coin stamps. At the movie, students may buy popcorn and drinks. Students also donate “white elephant,” gifts that they no longer want in exchange for a chance of buying someone else’s white elephant. Students have to decide whether they want to buy one 50-cent gift or 10 nickel gifts.
“Coin Carnival is a fun way to really immerse the second-graders at Phinney School in coin counting,” Johnson said. “We’ve completed some classwork on money and coins, so it’s perfect timing. Being proficient with money and coins is part of our state assessment, so it’s very important.”
The Sonic Drive-in provides two of its coin changers for practice. Each student is given a drink coupon and Sonic provides a refreshment for volunteers.
“That’s good practice because the students learn the difference between the value of each coin and how to properly make change,” she said.
First State Bank of Larned employees Shannon Fischer, Jeanne Vratil and Pam Shank ran a station that showed the students coins up to $1 and money up to $100. They also identified which presidents were on different denominations.
The First State Bank employees also shows off a collection of quarters for each of the 50 states.
A special treat was dozens of foreign coins collected by June and Lee Fischer of Larned. The Fischers have traveled to several countries and bring back coins from each place.
“By the end of the carnival, the students spend all their money, but they go home with a bag of treasures and a greater ability to use money,” Johnson said.