I have the luxury of having two years with my students (4-5th grade). I went through all the standards I needed to teach to see if I could pull out some big fun ideas out of them. I came up with Money and Geometry. So I spend a whole year on both topics and I am able to address most of the standards. So this year we have been focusing on money, which is so engaging for my students. We learn about the history of money, we barter, we budget, we make a class business, and we learn math. One of my students’ favorite activities is my Mall Simulation. I divide the classroom into three areas: a food court, retail shops, and a bank w/ an ATM. I divide the class into four groups: three groups go to each of these areas and the last group become shoppers.
I give the shoppers a gift card from “grandma” worth $50 that they need spend during that day.
They need to “activate” the card at the ATM, as well as set up a PIN. I use a box for an ATM machine and the ATM students take turns putting the ATM messages and keypad (a calculator) through a slot.
Once they have an active card, they can withdraw cash and go to the food court.
The food court has a cash tray and I got menus for them to use. The cashiers practice making change, making receipts, and keep a log.
Or they can use the card at the retail shops. The retail shops are “online” stores that the kids can look at and order from. The retail sales people fill out receipts, add 10% tax, and a runner takes the receipt to the bank accountants to make sure there is money in the account, signs it, and the runner gives it back to the salesperson. A manager also keeps track of all the receipts.
At the end, the shopper balances their account and double checks it with the bank. This one round takes a whole math time, about an hour. Then we rotate so everyone gets a chance to work in all the areas, it’s so fun and it takes a solid week. Every area has a manager, and the manager trains the new manager before the mall is “opened.” The shoppers read and wait outside until the mall is opened.
It’s a wealth of learning about decimals and percents.
Now for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.