"It's not fair. She has more than me."
The girls have just received their allowance. Emma the Brave wanted coins of all different denominations; Mighty Mouse chose all nickels. The result is that Emma has only six coins while Mouse has ten.
"She has more coins than you, not more money."
"I don't understand."
I explain that Mouse's coins are worth less and that's why she has more. "You actually have more money than she does. See?" I show her the bank books.
She studies them then looks back up at me and blinks. "I still don't understand."
"Tell you what, you go play while I make something that will help you understand."
"Can I watch?"
Ten minutes later I call her back and show her this:
We place a coin of each respective denomination on every square: a 50 centimes piece takes up half the page; a nickel, only one twentieth. The ten and and 20 centimes pieces fall in between. We count by 5's, 10's and 20's, all the way up to 100 centimes or one franc, her weekly allowance.
"Now do you understand?"
"Yep... Next week I want all 5's."
"You got it."