Money is a fun and accessible way to teach a lot of math skills. Here are some quick ideas:

1 – Counting dimes and nickels is a simple way to teach adding and subtracting tens and fives. For example, show your students two pennies, and then add a dime, then another dime, and students are adding and subtracting by tens.

2 – Put some change in your pocket and have your students try to guess what combination is in your pocket. This helps with logic, combination, and probability as well as mental addition. The picture below shows how I set up a chart on the whiteboard and we use tally marks to write down how many of each coin. My students take turns recording the combinations. Then when we feel we have enough, I might tell them some clues, like “I have an odd amount of coins.” or “I have only less than 5 pennies.”

3 – To teach place value, you can play a game called “Race to 100.” Put a bunch of pennies (you can use fake ones) on the table. Have some dimes available as well. Partners take turns rolling a dice and then collect that many pennies. See who gets to 100 first. If they run out of pennies, ask them what they can do. Often they recount the pennies each turn, you can ask them if they can think of an easier way to count and lead them to making groups of ten, which you can substitute for dimes. Notice if they are able to swap out dimes easily to understand place value.

4 – Bring in ads and catalogs from stores that your students would be interested in perusing. Give them a budget and have them record what they would buy.

5 – Have your students create their own menus. Bring in several sample menus and talk about what are all the parts of a menu, discussing categories. Then you can use these menus for a fun math center where your students can play restaurant, write bills, and subtract for change.

This is just a start and hopefully I triggered some ideas to make math magic!

Thanks for reading and please comment below with any additional ideas to share!

I do have a couple of fun money products in my TPT store,

This is a set of worksheets and activities to go with the “What is my pocket?” scenario I explained above.

This activity uses money to introduce algebra. It’s so fun!

This is a blank menu for your students to fill out as well as a dictionary of many food and restaurant related words.

This is a set of money riddle task cards.