We have been working on money skills a lot in my higher math group. Money is a major focus because – duh – money is freaken important. Like it or not, money makes the world go world and it is so critical that our students can use money accurately. This is a make or break skill towards functional independence. You will never be able to get food, take a bus, buy your favorite things if you don’t know how to use money. And money is hard. There are a lot of skills to be able to do with money: counting money, counting money up to a specific amount, determining enough/not enough, using a mixture of coins, making change etc.
This activity has been one of my favorites. It incorporates one of my newest bad teacher behaviors – writing on tables. Gasp. My kids were horrified the first time I did it. Now Every time I draw on the table – they all quietly comfort themselves, “Only the teacher can do that. Only the teacher can do that.” Ah – love them! Yes – back to writing on the table. You can write on plastic of fake wood tables with dry erase marker and they dry off perfectly clean with a clorox wipe or dry erase cleaner! OBSESSED. Rant over.
Here is our new activity. First, we make a bank with all the money:
(I use money from my independent work tasks!)
Next, I make each student “a wallet”:
Then, I give them each an amount of money on a post it and they need to fill their wallet with that amount of money:
This works so well for a small group. Having the visual dividers of the dry erase marker really helps my students stay organized and structure the activity a little more. Sometimes that’s the only intervention our kids need! This is great for differentiation because I can give some students easy amounts and other students more challenging numbers. I also made it even trickier for some kids by telling them what coins they couldn’t use (ie. easier to count up to 40 cents using dimes versus using quarters and nickels).
For an assessment, I used this money math test. Download for free here: Money Math Test.
I wanted to make to assess all of the skills we have been working on. The first five questions were receptive money amount. I read an amount “two dollars and sixteen cents” and the students had to write that amount in numbers. The next ten were count up the amount of money given. The last two I had to get a little creative with. I wanted to assess my students’ ability to count out money when given a specific amount. I left a big blank for the last two problems and put a post it with an amount on each problem for each student. (see below) Then I gave each students two baggies labeled 14 and 15 (for the corresponding test questions). They has to put the amount in the baggie and turn in with the test. This worked really well!