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DVD Review: Rock ‘N Learn – Money & Making Change

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In Rock 'N Learn's Money & Making Change, computer animated hosts Penny (a go-go boot-sporting penny) and Bill (a dollar bill) introduce children over the age of six to all of the skills and concepts needed to perform simple money counting and change making skills. The 54 minute DVD opens with Penny and Bill in a bit of a conundrum – these rockers have blown their speaker and need to find a way to replace it before their big show! In their quest to replace or repair the speaker they need to count their money and discover if they have enough.

The stage is set for introducing the coins and lower bills of American currency and sharing some of the history of the composition and weights of each coin. Bill and Penny then proceed to teach the standard techniques for counting pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars using primarily skip counting, with an introduction to grouping techniques. The coins slide across the screen as they are counted, providing a visual similar to that experienced when counting money.

All of the common equivalencies are taught, such as 20 nickels equals one dollar, and extensive practice is given in counting money. A brief introduction to writing money is also included, covering using words, dollar signs, decimal places and cent signs. Shopping simulations are used to teach how to determine if enough money is on hand to make purchases, and a garage sale simulation is used to teach how to make change. With such a wealth of concepts taught, Money & Making Change is a comprehensive teaching tool for dealing with currency. An easy to use navigational menu makes it easy to focus in on specific lessons and practice sessions.

Even though we're Canadians, we love this DVD; it's one of my six-year-old's favourites. The teaching segments are interspersed with rock-inspired tunes, and at the end of the disc children are rewarded with a short performance from Penny, Bill, and their band, "The Changemakers". The songs included on the disc feature money-focused lyrics and are heavy on guitar riffs living up to the name Rock 'N Learn. They never fail to get our children dancing and clapping.

Viewers familiar with Rock 'N Learn's older DVD's will appreciate the improved animation quality on this newer disc. The characters are more three-dimensional and express a wider range of lateral motion and fine motor movements. With the higher production quality and an ongoing narrative throughout the disc, we've been seeing a lot of Penny and Bill on our television screen.

My children aren't the only ones who are impressed. I love the quality of the animation – it's wonderful for an educational DVD, and the fun, light-hearted theme and examples have made the disc my six-year-old's favourite, so how can I not love it? So much educational value is packed into the DVD that I'm sure it's a resource our family will be using for years to come.

Lessons Included:

1. Meet Penny & Bill
2. The Coin Song
3. Counting Pennies
4. Counting Nickels
5. Counting Dimes

6. Counting Quarters
7. Counting Half Dollars
8. Dollars & Other Bills
9. Writing Money
10. Equivalent Forms
11. Counting Money
12. Counting Practice
13. Count the Coins Game
14. "Do I Have Enough Money?" Game
15. Making Change
16. Live in Concert

A video sample from this DVD can be found on the Rock 'N Learn website.

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About Jennifer Bogart