Sometimes It Makes Cents and Other Times It’s Only a Penny

This post is for all of us nerdy math people out in the world…

Sunday was a good movie day. My husband and I went to the movies and made a whole day (well, afternoon) of it.  FYI….Frozen is awesome and it’s not just for kids! Madea’s Christmas was very good too!

Back to the reason for the post…on the way to the movies we saw this sign:


Yes, it’s pretty cool that gas prices are going back down. But do you see what I saw?!!

I’m so glad I married a man who knows why this is mathematically wrong! His response was “we should go in the store for coffee, throw down a penny and say keep the change.”  Then he was sweet enough to stop to let me take a picture.

It’s hard for students to understand the difference between .79 cents and 79 cents, but they are VERY different.   This really isn’t a standard that I teach, but it does usually come up at some point in the year through word problems.  I usually try to explain that .79 cents is like saying 79 hundredths of a penny or less than one penny, that clears it up for some that really want to know. But how to reach the other 75%?

It’s learning experiences like this that make math real to my students.  Sometimes it makes ‘cents‘ and other times it’s just a penny. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Sometimes It Makes Cents and Other Times It’s Only a Penny

  1. Hi, Janelle—

    I occasionally see this, too! I *wish* this were the actually price of a cup of coffee. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so guilty going to Starbucks!

    By the way—I don’t know if you caught it, but we included your site in our “Blogs We Love” list. If you’d like to check it out, the post is located here:

    www (dot) teambuildingactivitiesforkidscentral (dot) com/blogs-we-love/

    Just our way of saying “Keep up the awesome work!”


    • Hello Matt! Thanks for sharing! I LOVE starbucks…it’s a guilty pleasure of mine for sure. 🙂

      Thanks for including my site on your list, that is awesome! I appreciate it very much.


      • Absolutely! There’s a lot of great stuff here. Would you like to guest post for us? Or—if you’d like us to lighten your load, we could write a post for you! You can reach me at matt (at) teambuildingactivitiesforkidscentral (dot) com. Happy holidays!

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