I’m so excited to bring you the next part in my Summer Math Camp series! This week we worked on all things money: counting coins, adding money, making change, and even considered fractions of a dollar!
If you’ve missed the rest of this series so far, we started with operations with large numbers, then worked on understanding multiplication in week 2, then discussed fractions and equivalent fractions in week 3! Be sure to check out those as well, because they are packed with FREE downloads and teaching ideas!
I like to have something simple and self explanatory for them to start with to help ease into it. It is summer, after all, and they’re not usually in “school mode” when they arrive, haha! So this week, I had these money puzzles out and they worked hard to get them all done!
Once they felt comfortable counting up coins and handling money, it was time to put it to use! I wanted to make sure they understood why we need to add and subtract money, rather than just giving them a worksheet full of problems, so we treated ourselves to the Cozy Corner Bakery!
I passed out a handful of play money to each girl (it came out to between $3.50 and $4 for each of them) and they took turns ordering treats at the bakery. Though this activity helped them practice numerous skills, it was also immensely practical because the girl ordering had to make sure she had enough money for what she wanted to buy.
Then, the one who took the order would fill out a receipt for the purchase and put her math skills to work!
We discussed how finding the total required adding, while figuring out the change due would require subtraction.
They took turns being the customer and the cashier until they no longer had enough money to purchase anything. Then we enjoyed a cookie, because it’s not really fair to go to the bakery and not actually enjoy any baked goods! 😉
To use this activity, all I did was print the menu and laminate it (so I can use it again with my own kids), then print the receipts and cut them out. This download includes 1 page of 6 receipts, but you could print multiple copies to have a class set.
Another great thing about this activity is that it can be used over and over with different amounts of starting money, purchasing different items, paying with larger bills, etc.
After having some fun “at the bakery” (and enjoying a yummy snack break!), I wanted to use the opportunity to go back to fractions and hopefully help them think about it a different way. I had tried to explain the meaning of the numerator versus the denominator, but they still seemed to struggle at the end of our time last week.
So we used one dollar as our “whole” and looked at different ways we can break a dollar into equal parts. I gave each of them this worksheet:
and we worked through it together, one at a time. We talked about how many of each coin we need to make a dollar. For example, number one shows one quarter, which equals 25 cents, but four quarters equals a dollar. So we lined up four quarters and discussed how the numerator would be one (because we only have one quarter) but the denominator would be four (because it takes four quarters to make a dollar). Then we went back to the original problem and restated it as “25 cents is equal to 1/4 of a dollar.” We then did the same for each of the problems.
After we finished the page, we talked about how the amount is what’s important, not which coins we have. For example, if you have two dimes and a nickel, it’s still 25 cents, so you still have 1/4 of a dollar.
I also wanted to use money to review rounding (which we worked on in week one) and estimating, but we ran out of time. I was planning to give them each a handful of change, let them round it to the nearest ten cents, then estimate the fraction of a dollar. Oh well, maybe we’ll get to this next week! 🙂
Using money is a great way to practice and review many different math skills in a real life context. It’s more meaningful for kids because they will have to know how to correctly handle money in the real world, and it’s more fun because you can easily turn it into a game!
And of course, if you want yet another way to talk about money with your kids, try reading a fun math story! I recently discovered some excellent teaching resources from Take Charge America that try to teach personal finance lessons to kids at an early age. They use math stories as the basis of the lessons for grades 1-5, and the best part? They are all free! There are ten lessons for each grade, with about 3 different activities to go along with each lesson. I plan to use some of the first grade lessons with my kids this year! Check out all their free personal finance teaching resources here.
Overall, I thought things went well this week, and I look forward to a few more weeks of “math camp” before school starts again! 🙂
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