Show Me The Money - 
A unit on problem-solving with money

Project URL: www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnetusa/kdevus/worksheet.htm   

How it works:
Show Me The Money
is comprised of seven lessons and is appropriate for intermediate-grade children. A pre-test is recommended. Lesson one has the children using "play money" as manipulatives,  moving from coin identification to coin combinations totaling one dollar. Lessons two and three combine classroom work with Internet sites. Links are recommended for math crossword puzzles and interactive money games. A buddy system can be set up with another grade level and the students practice writing and solving word problems for each other. Lessons four and five recommend a computer presentation such as PowerPoint or HyperStudio to show the children "key" terms that help them determine the operations to perform to solve word problems. Students then write the terms on index cards for a class review.  Lesson six outlines the use of a mock checkbook in the classroom. This is a lot of work, but is really well received by the children. Some teachers even tie this into their discipline plan and "sell" awards that the children "buy" with their checks. We made cards from sale ads and pretended to buy items. Lesson seven emphasizes following the problem-solving steps presented in previous lessons and spotting the key terms in the written word problems. Online links are given.

Standards addressed:  
For this program, I have selected the following objectives from my school district's course of study, which align with Ohio's math standards:
After thorough instruction and word problems involving money, fifth grade students will be able to read through an entire problem twice for understanding; recognize the appearance of paper money and coins; and identify coins and paper money in monetary order--all with 100% accuracy.
The will be able to make correct change; calculate the proper amount of money needed to purchase a good or service; identify the various terms that indicate that an addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division operation is necessary; define the terms necessary   and name and arrange the steps needed to successfully solve a word problem; and solve a set of 10 word problems--all with at least 90% accuracy.

Materials used:
The presentation software described in this unit can also be created by students after a discussion of key vocabulary. Either way, it's more interesting than writing words on the chalkboard. The computers used in this unit were Apple platform, but the Internet
sites and PowerPoint can be accessible through PCs, too. 

The students:
My class is a fifth grade classroom in a large inner-city school district. I have seventeen students whose math abilities range from third to seventh grade comprehension levels (as determined by Ohio Proficiency Testing and Cognitive Test of Skills.)

Overall value:
Overall, I believe this was a valuable unit for my students. The students learned some new techniques to help in their problem solving and enjoyed themselves as they learned. The students were asked to comment on this unit. They were asked to choose two activities from the unit that they liked the best and to explain why they liked those activities. The checkbook activity and the crossword puzzles were the favorite activities. Most students stated the game-like quality of those activities in their explanations. We will re-visit the checkbook activity later this year - by request. Teachers can use this site for lesson plan ideas and for great links to interactive math activities on the internet. This unit can help children understand word problems which will make math fun.

With technology sometimes come difficulties. We had difficulty accessing the "Mathcats" site due to a shockwave incompatibility. ( We replaced the site with another listed in the unit.) It is suggested that the user access a student-friendly search engine such as MetaEureka or Google in order to find working sites to suit their needs. Please check links and compatibility before assigning Web sites to your students. It will save you headaches later.


About the teacher:
Kathy Devus is a fifth grade teacher with the Akron Public Schools. She
has taught for ten years. Kathy will receive her Masters in Instructional Technology in May of 2002 from the University of Akron.


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