Pennies in Math – Definition With Examples

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What Are Pennies?

While returning after a worthwhile shopping spree, Joe, with her mom, visits a fruit stall. They purchase 2 pounds of apples, worth $\$$2.95. Joe’s mom pays three singles. In return, she gets 5 pennies in balance. After reaching home, she gives the 5 pennies to Joe, who deposits them in her piggy bank.

I’m a penny worth a cent,

A hundred me is a dollar spent!

Put me in your piggy bank,

As a penny saved is a penny earned!

But what is a penny in math? Keep reading to figure it out!

Pennies: an Introduction

Pennies are US coins worth one cent, equivalent to a hundredth of a US dollar. Since 1857, pennies have been the lowest-denomination coins in the US. It is more than 200 years old as the US introduced its first penny in 1787.

Penny

Penny Definition

A penny is the smallest denomination coin in the United States, worth $\$$0.01 or a cent. In other words, a hundred pennies make one dollar. In Canada, a penny is worth 0.01 Canadian dollars.

Counting Pennies

Dip your hands into your piggy bank. You’ll find a few pennies. Let’s learn how to count them!

Here’s a penny. We know that one penny = one cent. Therefore, the value of a penny is one cent or 0.01 dollars.

One penny equals one cent

Here are two pennies. Its value is two cents or 0.02 dollars.

Two pennies

Here are four pennies. Its value is four cents or 0.04 dollars.

Four pennies

Here are twelve pennies. So, its value is 12 cents or 0.12 dollars.

Twelve pennies

Therefore, to find the value of n number of pennies, we have to multiply it by one to get the value in cents. To get it in dollars, we must multiply n by 0.01.

Therefore, the value of n pennies is n cents or n/100 or n $\times$ 0.01 dollars.

What Are Pennies Made of?

Penny and Cent

A penny is a US coin of the smallest denomination worth one cent or $\$$0.01.

Penny and Nickel

Five pennies are equivalent to a nickel

A nickel is worth 5 cents. So, 5 pennies are equivalent to a nickel.

Penny and Dime

Ten pennies make a dime

A dime is worth 10 cents. So, a dime is equivalent to 10 pennies.

Penny and Quarter

Twenty-five pennies make a quarter

A quarter is worth 25 cents. So, a quarter is equivalent to 25 pennies.

Penny and Half Dollar

Fifty pennies make half dollar

A half dollar is worth 50 cents. So, a half dollar is equivalent to 50 pennies.

Penny and Dollar

Hundred pennies make a dollar

A dollar is worth 100 cents. Therefore, it is equivalent to 100 pennies. Therefore, there are a hundred pennies in a dollar.

Adding Pennies

Let’s understand the addition of pennies with an example.

Example 1: Joe and her friends break their piggy banks. Joe has 100 pennies, Lily has 10 nickels, Harry has 5 dimes, and Tom has three quarters. The total value of coins they have is:

We know that one nickel $= 5$ cents.

So, 10 nickel $= 10 \times 5$

$= 50$ cents

So, Lily had 50 pennies.

We know that one dime $= 10$ cents

So, 5 dimes $= 5 \times 10$ cents

$= 50$ cents

So, Harry had 50 pennies.

We know that one quarter $= 25$ cents

So, 3 quarters $= 3 \times 25$ cents

$= 75$ cents

So, Tom had 75 pennies.

Total amount $= 50 + 50 + 75 + 100$ pennies

$= 275$ pennies

Why Is One Cent Called a Penny?

Penny is a British coin that has been there since 1714. Even after the US independence, the British colonial practice of referring to coins with small value as “penny” continued. Therefore, people colloquially refer to the US cent as a “penny” to date.

Penny Weight in Grams

The weight of a penny has changed significantly (reduced) over time. It weighed 13.48 grams in 1793 and currently weighs just 2.5 grams.

Penny Facts

  • After the abolition of the half-cent in 1857, pennies became the official US coin of the lowest denomination in circulation.
  • Historically, the US Mint-issued pennies were either made of copper or copper plated.
  • The current penny is a copper-plated zinc coin with 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.
  • From 1944​​–46, the US Mint used ammunition shells used in the war to mint pennies.
  • The first penny was the Flowing Hair cent, issued in 1793.
  • Since 1909, the penny has featured Abraham Lincoln.
  • It takes more cents to mint a penny when compared to its face value. For instance, in 2019, minting a penny cost the US Mint around 2 cents.

Conclusion

Learning about pennies and how many pennies make a dollar can be fun. A penny is the smallest denomination coin in the United States. So, it is important to learn about its value and also know how many pennies make the other denominations.

Solved Examples

1. How many pennies are there in $\$$3.48?

Solution: We know that one dollar $= 100$ pennies

Therefore, 3.48 dollars $= 3.48 \times 100$

$= 348$ pennies

2. Which of the following has a higher value: 25 dimes or 250 pennies?

Solution: We know that one dime $= 10$ pennies

So, 25 dime $= 25 \times 10$

$= 250$ pennies

So, 25 dime $= 250$ pennies

So, both have the same value.

3. How many pennies are there in 15 nickels?

Solution: We know that 1 nickel $= 5$ pennies.

So, number of pennies in 15 nickels $= 5 \times 15$

$= 75$ pennies

4. A penny weighs 2.5 grams. What will be the weight of a bag of $\$$1.8 worth of pennies?

Solution: We know that $\$$1 $= 100$ pennies

So, $\$$1.8 $= 1.8 \times 100$

$= 180$ pennies

One penny weighs 2.5 grams.

So, the weight of 180 pennies $= 2.5 \times 180$

$= 450$ grams

5. Arrange the following in descending order:

(1) 50 nickels

(2) 20 dimes

(3) 300 pennies

(4) 0.75 dollars

Solution:

We know that $\$$1 $= 100$ pennies.

So, 0.75 dollars $= 0.75 \times 100$

$= 75$ pennies… (4)

We know that one dime $= 10$ pennies.

So, 20 dimes $= 20 \times 10$

$= 200$ pennies… (2)

We know that one nickel $= 5$ pennies.

So, 50 nickels $= 50 \times 5$

$= 250$ pennies… (1)

300 pennies $\gt$ 250 pennies $\gt$ 200 pennies $\gt$ 75 pennies

300 pennies $\gt$ 50 nickels $\gt$ 20 dimes $\gt$ 0.75 dollars

Practice Problems

Pennies in Math - Definition With Examples

Attend this quiz & Test your knowledge.

1

Express $\$$3.76 in pennies

37.6 pennies
376 pennies
3,760 pennies
37,600 pennies
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 376 pennies
$\$$1 $= 100$ pennies.
So, $\$$3.76 $= 3.76 \times 100$
$= 376$ pennies
2

Which of the following coin pairs makes $\$$1?

5 pennies, 3 nickels, 3 dimes, and 2 quarters
3 pennies, 5 nickels, 4 dimes, and 1 quarter
7 pennies, 8 nickels, and 1 dime
5 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes, and 1 quarter
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 5 pennies, 3 nickels, 3 dimes, and 2 quarters
3 nickels $= 3 \times 5 = 15$ pennies
3 dimes $= 3 \times 10 = 30$ pennies
2 quarters $= 2 \times 25 = 50$ pennies
5 pennies
Total $= 15 + 30 + 50 + 5$ pennies
$= 100$ pennies $=$ $\$$1
3

How many dimes are 270 pennies?

0.27 dimes
2.7 dimes
27 dimes
270 dimes
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 27 dimes
1 dime $= 10$ pennies.
So, 1 penny $= 0.1$ dime.
270 pennies $= 0.1 \times 270$
$= 27$ dimes
4

Joe buys a chocolate bar for $\$$15.13. She has a $\$$10 bill, a $\$$5 bill, and a few coins. Choose the best pair of coins from the options below so that Joe can pay for the chocolate bar.

2 dimes and 3 pennies
1 quarter
2 nickels and 3 pennies
1 dime and 10 pennies
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 2 nickels and 3 pennies
Cost of the chocolate bar $=$ $\$$15.13
Total bills she has $= 10 + 5 =$ $\$$15
Remaining amount $= 15.13$ $–$ $15 =$ $\$$0.13
2 nickels $= 2 \times 5 = 10$ pennies
3 pennies
Total value of coins $= 13$ pennies $=$ $\$$0.13
5

Arrange the following in ascending order:
(1) 4 half-a-dollar bill
(2) 150 pennies
(3) $\$$1.75
(4) 19 dimes
(5) 3 quarters

$(1) \lt (2) \lt (3) \lt (4) \lt (5)$
$(5) \lt (2) \lt (3) \lt (4) \lt (1)$
$(5) \lt (4) \lt (3) \lt (2) \lt (1)$
$(3) \lt (2) \lt (4) \lt (5) \lt (1)$
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: $(5) \lt (2) \lt (3) \lt (4) \lt (1)$
(1) 4 half-a-dollars = $\$$ 4 X ½ = $\$$2 $= 2 \times 100 = 200$ pennies
(2) 150 pennies
(3) $\$$1.75 =$ $1.75 \times 100 = 175$
pennies
(4) 19 dimes $= 19 \times 10 = 190$
pennies
(5) 3 quarters $= 3 \times 25 = 75$ pennies
In ascending order, 75 pennies (5)

Frequently Asked Questions

The US penny is older as the US issued its first penny in 1787. On the other hand, the first Canadian penny was introduced in 1858.

The current US penny’s diameter is 19.05 mm (0.75 in) and 1.52 mm (0.05 in) thick.

Since 1909, a penny has featured the portrait of former President Abraham Lincoln. So, you might also call it a Lincoln cent.

Currently, in a US penny, the obverse features Abraham Lincoln, and the reverse features the Union Shield.

Until 1857, the pennies were 100% copper. However, later pennies were copper-nickel, tin, or zinc alloys. For a year in 1943, due to war demands for copper, the US Mint used zinc-coated steel to mint pennies. Finally, the current pennies are copper-plated zinc coins.