Handling money is fascinating for children and it can be used to teach many different skills. It is also challenging for some children to grasp how it works. Teaching kids about money with games and activities will help them to make connections that can be used in real life. The more opportunities they have to work with it and handle it, the better they will understand how to use it.
Learning the value of money
I find it fascinating to watch kids choose nickels over dimes when given a choice.They don't know the value, but they think that bigger is worth more. They are always surprised to find out that the dime is worth more than the nickel. It is important to teach them what the values of the different coins are and how they can be combined in different ways to equal a certain amount of money. For example, 50 cents could be 2 quarters, 5 dimes, 10 nickels, 50 pennies, or combinations of these coins.
Counting coins and bills is fun, and it is important too. In order to correctly pay for things or make change when given money, children need to understand how to count money. This is a great time to do activities that encourage exchanging money. Perhaps they could pretend to go shopping, or do some activity where they need to order food at a restaurant and pay cash for it.
Understanding written money amounts
Being able to recognize money amounts in written form is also difficult for many children. They often get confused by the $ and the decimal point. The ¢ is not as difficult for them to recognize and use. The more they use both forms, the easier it will be for them. For younger children, explaining how the decimal works might be too abstract, but they should be able to understand that dollars come before the decimal and cents come after it. I like to use lots of games and activities to practice this. I created some task cards and Boom sets for counting money and matching up the ways it is written. You can check them out here.
Many children think that money is a plastic card that parents use when they go shopping. They don't understand that a debit card is used for transferring money as a payment, but that the money needs to be there in order to spend it. They need to have this concept explained and taught to them. I discovered this when I was teaching my grade 3 class about money. This led to creating a unit with them about money, how to earn it, how to save it, and what happens when it is spent. It was a great learning experience for all of us. You can read more about it here.
Kids love to hear stories that relate to what they are learning. This was a great chance for me to share a story about my kids and their grandfather. Their grandfather saved any coins he received when he went places or bought things and he kept them in a container at home. When we would go over to visit, he would dump the coins out in the middle of the bed and let the kids take a handful of them. They were allowed to keep whatever they didn't drop as they went from one side of the bed to the other. It didn't take long for the older ones to strategically choose which coins they wanted to grab to gain the most money. He also had a big pig that he put all the pennies in. Once a year, they got to roll the pennies and take them to the bank. These activities gave them opportunities to practice handling money and counting it.
Real life situations and other ways to use money
Money is also a great tool to use when practicing addition and subtraction. I often taught my students to "go to the bank" when they needed to regroup. We would also practice taking pennies and trading them in for dimes, taking dimes and trading them in for dollars, and the reverse. It helped them to visualize how regrouping works. The same thing can be done with base ten blocks, but my students were much more excited to use the money to do the regrouping.
Real life situations are the best ways to help kids understand the importance of money. If they have a bank account and can see the money being deposited and withdrawn they will understand that money needs to be in the account in order for it to be taken out.
Maybe they can be given opportunities to pay for things and then count the change to double check that they got the correct amount back.
Learning about ways to earn money, save money, and give money is also important, but I will save that for another time.
Here is a free set of task cards that may help with practicing how to recognize the way money amounts are written. You can get a copy by clicking the image. If you are already a subscriber to my newsletter, you can find a copy in the free resources section.
I hope that you found some ideas here to help with teaching money. Let me know in the comments if you have some other ways that work for you. I would love to hear about them. Don't forget to grab your free task cards by clicking the image or here.
Word problems are challenging for many people, not just kids. It is important that we teach some strategies for solving word problems so that our students will be able to solve problems that come up in the real world, not just the classroom.
What are word problems and how do we solve them?
Word problems are questions that are needing answers. They usually have some math element and require an understanding of the language being used and the questions being asked. Then the answer can be determined.
The first step is to figure out what questions are being asked. Once the questions are identified, the next step is to look at the problem and see what information has been provided. This information will help when looking for the answer.
Often it is suggested that we look for keywords in the problem. Although this can sometimes work, keywords are not always helpful because they could have a different meaning in this context.
Many word problems have more than one step. If we look at the problem and start with what we know and what we want to find out, this will help us to figure out the steps.
Introducing word problems
When introducing word problems, keep them simple. Start with simple, one step problems that require basic addition or subtraction. Once kids understand the process, you can make them more complex. Muti-step word problems will require lots more practice. It is important to understand how to use the information given and the questions being asked in order to figure out the different steps to take. Start with small numbers and only a couple of steps and gradually increase the size of the numbers and steps. Differentiation will be key as some children will require more practice to be able to solve the problems. By using the same model with smaller numbers and fewer steps, everyone will have the chance to be successful. Don't forget to provide opportunities for those that need more of a challenge as well.
I have found that practical applications help. If kids have a reason to learn something and you can relate it to something in their world, they are more likely to "get it". I created a set of money word problems for my students when we were creating our money lessons unit. You can check it out here if you want to see more.
I was tutoring a young girl in French and we created a menu and some task cards together. I translated it into English as well. If you would like a copy of the English version, click the image below. If you are a subscriber to my newsletter, you can grab your copy in the free resources section.
There you have some of my thoughts and suggestions for helping your students with word problems. If you have some other ideas or strategies that have worked well, let me know in the comments.
Don't forget to grab your free copy of the money word problems here.
Multiplication is a difficult concept for many children to grasp. Drills are one way to learn, but multiplication strategies will work better. Relating multiplication to what is already known will really help. A simple place to start is by thinking of it as repeated addition.
Strategies To Visualize Multiplication
There are many ways to visualize multiplication. We can use circles and add an equal amount of objects into each one to see that it is grouping things together.
We can use arrays so that we can see the equal rows and columns. Again, we are looking at equal groups, just in a different set up.
We can also actually share objects between people, one for you, one for you, one for you, and so on. This way it is easy to see that they are equal. The number of objects times the number of people equals the total number of objects.
This could also be a good way to visualize division as the objects are actually being divided equally among the people.
Memorizing multiplication facts used to be the way kids were taught to use multiplication, but many kids didn't understand how this worked and they found memorizing difficult. It is helpful to know multiplication facts, but by also adding some strategies, if they get stuck or don't remember one of the facts, they can still solve the problem.
Sometimes we need to simplify situations so that they make sense. We can't just share an algorithm and expect everyone to be able to do it correctly.
I worked with some grade 5 students that were really struggling with math. They were so confused that they were unable to do the work given in class. We went right back to basic addition facts and how to do addition with larger numbers using some strategies that made sense to them. Once they felt confident with this, we moved on to simple multiplication questions. If multiplication is like repeated addition, it makes sense that they would need to have a solid understanding of addition before moving on to multiplication.
After working on some strategies for single digit multiplication questions, we attempted to do 2 digit times 1 digit questions. By applying the strategies from addition and expanded notation, this process was successful. They were able to see it visually and it finally made sense.
What multiplication strategy should I use?
It is important to remember that not everyone uses the sames strategies to figure out the answer. Just as we all take different routes when we travel to school or downtown, so people take different routes when they solve math questions. As long as the route works and gets you to your destination, that is great. If you have difficulty because you took a wrong turn, it is important to correct that and redirect you. This means that you need to be able to explain your thinking process. I always encourage my students to tell me the route they took.
When I was working with a group of 5 students, it was interesting to hear all the different ways they took to get to their answers. What was especially good, was that the others listened and realized that they didn't have to take the same route, but also, that sometimes the route someone else took might be a better route to try next time. When the route didn't work out, sometimes one of the others was able to explain how to get back on track. This was very exciting. It meant that they were getting it and that they were able to share what they had learned with others.
After practicing strategies for awhile using visuals, it is important to be able to move to a more abstract model. We don't always have materials available to make a visual model. In real life situations, we need to be able to figure things out either mentally or with paper and pencil. This is where the strategies really are useful.
I created a resource that shows some of the strategies and how to use them. If you are interested in checking it out, click the image.
I tutored a couple of girls with these strategies, and it was amazing to see the growth and confidence they had after working with them for awhile. The following year, they went to middle school and the teacher started to give them more difficult material to work with. At first they were confused, but as we broke the material down and looked at it, they were able to see that it was the same process only with larger numbers.
The teacher gave them the traditional algorithm to use and this actually confused them because it wasn't explained. They tried to follow the example but didn't understand what was really happening. When we broke it down and used the strategies they had learned, they figured it out and then they were able to actually use the algorithm. One thing I did tell them was, if you don't get it, use the strategies you know. It may take more space, but it will get you to the right answer. They took this advice and they were able to get through the material.
Not every strategy works with every person. It is important to try them and figure out which ones are the best fit. This will provide a set of tools for real life situations. I hope this has given you some ideas for ways that you can help your students to feel more confident and successful with multiplication.
Here is a simple resource that will help to remind you of some of the strategies to choose from. If you are already a subscriber to my newsletter, you will find it in the free resources section.
I hope these tips help with teaching your students multiplication. Don't forget to grab your copy of the strategies reference sheets by clicking the image or here. You can also click the sign up image below to get this free product plus any others that are already in the free resources section.
Spring is here, and it is time to think about Earth Day activities and what we can do to protect our Earth. During the pandemic, there has actually been some positive impact on the environment. Fewer people are driving, so less smog. People are staying home and cooking more meals, so less fast food packaging waste.
That doesn't mean that all is well though. We still need to continue to focus on ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. What we do now will make a difference in the future. If each household makes a commitment to do even one thing they weren't doing up until now, imagine the difference it would make.
Children shouldn't underestimate their effectiveness in getting the message across to others. I remember our children coming home from school and suggesting changes to what we were doing. Now that they are grown, they continue to do some of the same things and encourage their own children to do the same.
Here is an activity that I did with my grade 2/3 students one year. The theme was "WE TAKE CARE OF OUR WORLD" and each child was to choose a way that they could make a difference, draw a picture, and add a title or labels. We used them for a bulletin board display, and later on, we created calendars with them. We called it "Power of R Calendar". Check out the images below. It might be an activity that your students would enjoy doing.
A group of 5 teachers over at Classroom Freebies have put together some free Earth Day products for you. Here is what you will get. Hopefully, these will help your students to focus on the positive things they can do to protect our environment while having fun doing some activities as well.
If you are interested in the full package of math activities with an Earth Day theme, check it out in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
Have fun with your kids as you study about ways to protect our earth.
When we think of teaching measurement, we often think of it as 2 different parts: non-standard measurement and standard measurement. Today I would like to take a look at both of these parts.
Non-standard measurement is measuring using everyday objects as the unit of measure. It is often used for measuring lengths of things. Familiar objects are often used. Most classrooms have a variety of objects available to use. Here are some of the ones I used: blocks, links, erasers, pencils, paper clips, popsicle sticks, and straws.
Although these objects can give us a number of units of length, since they are of different sizes and shapes, the answers can vary. They also are limited to measuring short distances because of the number of units required.
Standard measurement uses units that are standard around the world. They may be measured using customary measuring units, imperial measuring units, or metric measuring units. Standard measurement of length is usually done with a ruler for shorter objects and a measuring tape for longer objects or distances.
When measuring short distances, we use a ruler that has 12 inches or 30 cm. When measuring longer distances, we use a yardstick or a metre stick. Other instruments would be needed if measuring longer distances such as miles or kilometres.
For measuring mass, objects can be used for non-standard measurement. For example, marbles could be placed on one side of the scale and the object being weighed on the other side. Marbles would be added until the scale was even on both sides. Then the number of marbles used would be counted and that would be the mass of the object. Since not all marbles or other objects have a defined weight, this would be fine for a classroom activity, but the results might not be the same for each person.
For measuring mass using standard measurement, weights of determined size would be used or a calibrated scale would be used. For smaller items, a kitchen scale would work. It would weigh things in ounces or pounds for customary measurement, and grams or kilograms for metric measurement. For larger items or people, a bathroom scale or a scale such as the one used at airports would be needed. This would weigh in pounds or kilograms.
When measuring volume, non-standard measurement is not as common, but it can be used. The idea is to see how many objects would fit into something to fill it. Cotton balls, marbles, blocks, or similar items could be used.
Usually we measure volume when using liquids, or ingredients for baking or doing science experiments. It is best to use standard measurement for these situations.
In customary measurement, it is usually measured in cups, portions of cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, half teaspoons, quarter teaspoons. Liquid measure could also be in ounces, quarts, and gallons.
In metric measurement, it is usually measured in millilitres. Liquid measure could also be in litres.
Temperature is measured in standard measurement. It is measured using the Fahrenheit (°F) scale or the Celsius (°C) scale. Depending on what is being measured, one of these scales is used. For customary measurement, the Fahrenheit (°F) scale is used. For metric measurement, the Celsius (°C) scale is used. In some cases both scales might be used. For example, I use metric for outside temperature, but customary for baking.
Starting out with non-standard measurement with young children works because they don't need to learn all the terms right away, but it is important that they start to use standard measurement and become familiar with the units used once they have explored and had hands on experience to understand the concepts of length, mass, and volume.
One of the ways I introduced the ruler and the term feet to my students was by having different children count footsteps along a given line to see how many feet it was. I made sure to choose children with varying foot sizes so they would get different answers. Then we discussed building a fence and going to buy the lumber. We talked about how the fence would be a different length depending on who's foot was used. Then, I introduced standard measurement. I talked about how the ruler we use is one foot long (or in metric situations, about 30cm). If everyone used the same ruler length, the fence would be one standard length.
When teaching about mass and volume, baking examples or science experiment examples could be used. It is important to make connections to real situations so that they understand why they are learning about things. It is also important to give them opportunities to use the standard measurements and get practice using the terms as well. Check out this blog post for real life activities that use measurement.
Here is a little measurement booklet that I made for you that might help your students with understanding the difference between non-standard and standard measurement. I have also included a measurement activity using non-standard objects. You can get your free copy here or by clicking on one of the images.
If you would like to have some fun with using non-standard measurement in some team activities, check out this resource. If you are looking for other measurement resources, check out the measurement category in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
So there you have it. These are some of the ways that I have taught measurement in my classroom and some of the activities that I have used.
I would love to hear how you teach measurement in your classroom. Let me know in the comments.
Don't forget to get your free measurement booklet and activity. If you are a subscriber, you will find it in the resources section.
Kids love to play with blocks, build structures, and experiment. 2D and 3D geometric shapes and solids activities are perfect for this kind of experimentation. They allow for creativity while also teaching important skills and information about how they can be used.
What are 2D shapes?
2D shapes are closed figures that are flat surfaces that may have edges and points (vertices). A circle doesn't have vertices, but it does have a flat surface and it is a closed shape. Although pattern blocks are not really 2D, we often use them in activities that are 2D and we refer to them as 2D shapes. Kids love to use these blocks to create patterns and then count the number of each shape used. Some of the most common shapes are circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and trapezoids.
It is fun to learn about the different shapes and also how to identify them in our environment.
What are 3D solids?
3D solids are closed figures like the 2D shapes with flat surfaces that may have edges and points (vertices) but they have another dimension, height. A sphere is an exception because it doesn’t have any flat surfaces or edges or points, but it has a curved surface and depth. A cone has edges, a flat surface, a curved surface, and a point (vertex). Because of the different combinations of edges, vertices, and curved surfaces or flat surfaces, the characteristics are different from those of the 2D shapes. Some solids can roll, some can slide, and some can do both. Some common 3D solids are spheres, cones, cubes, prisms, pyramids, and cylinders.
Here are some posters that give the attributes or characteristics for some 3D solids.
How characteristics affect creating structures
It is always fun to try out different objects to see if they roll, slide, or do both. Also, how many times have you tried to balance something on the point of a cone or pyramid? Depending on the shapes, different structures can be created. Here is a resource I created that tests out some of these things.
Sampler activities and other resources for geometry
I have created a geometry scavenger hunt activity and a sampler bingo game for you. You can get your free copy here or by clicking the image below.
Our environment is made up of many different shapes and solids. It is fun to try to identify the different shapes or solids that are around us. There are many opportunities to explore and learn about geometry around us. Check out some more ideas here.
For more practice with the different 2D shapes and 3D solids, check out my geometry category in my TeachersPayTeachers store. I also have some resources for those who are doing distance teaching and require online resources.
So there you have some ideas, activities, and resources to help your students explore 2D and 3D geometry and have fun along the way. I would love to know if you have any other favorite activities that you enjoy doing when teaching geometry.
Don't forget to grab your free copy of the scavenger hunt and bingo sampler here. If you are already a subscriber to my newsletter, you will find it in the free resources section.
Part of learning about the world around us in primary grades is learning about different kinds of communities. One of my favorite activities to do with primary kids is create a 3D community in my classroom. This is a very child centered unit and involves many different aspects before the community is actually created.
Steps For Creating A Community
Have you ever thought about creating a community with your class? I have done this a few times and it has always been a favorite memory for my students.
First of all, it is important the children understand what a community is and what kinds of communities there are. We look at resources that represent urban, suburban, and rural communities and we talk about what makes them the same or different. We talk about what they look like, what kinds of services they might have, and what different kinds of community helpers might be involved there. We also talk about where we might find these types of communities.
Next we take neighborhood walks and we look at the area around us. We take note of the various types of buildings, services, parks, etc. We also think about where they are located in relation to each other. We discuss what other services might be nearby and why they might be important.
We also think about other services that might be in the community, but located in different areas. For example, the essential services might be located in the center of the community, but an airport might be located on the outskirts of the community.
We then think about what services are needed, and what services might be nice to have, but are not essential. For example, some shopping centres are needed, but it is not necessary to have several different ones.
Planning The 3D Community
Once we determine that some services are needed and some are maybe just nice to have, we decide which ones will be included in the community that we create. This is where the neighborhood planning come in. We decide on what our community will be like, what is needed, whether there will be a river or other body of water nearby, what type of traffic grid is needed, and where certain types of services and buildings will be located.
We talk about scale and how that will be important when creating the 3D community. In my classes, I use a small milk carton as the guide. The carton is the size of a typical home. Each child is given a piece of cardboard as their lot, and a milk carton as the basis of their home. It is important that they understand that anything they add to the property should be scaled to fit the proportions of the home. For example, a toilet paper roll would not work as a tree because it is way too big, however, a straw might work.
Once the plan is decided on by the class, then I divide up the different services so that each student is responsible for creating one. If there are more children than services, I will pair them up on larger projects such as the hospital or the school. I include things like parks and playgrounds as different extra places to create as well.
Putting It All Together
After all the planning and discussion, the fun begins. Each child takes home their materials and begins to create their properties and service buildings or parks, etc. While this is going on, the area where the community will be placed is prepared. it is fun to watch the children take ownership of the space and the excitement mounts as the land and water areas are added.
We then create a storyboard of our journey through the planning process and the completion of the project.
Upon completion, it is time to share. Classes are invited to come and take a look, and families are invited for an afternoon of activities and a big celebration.
I have created this activity for those wishing to create a small neighborhood map. Click the image to get your copy.
If you would like to see a copy of the plan that we used and some of the materials included, check it out here.
My class had a great experience creating this community. I wish you success as you venture to create one in your classroom. I would love to see pictures or hear about it if you do create one.
Don't forget to get your free copy of the booklet, Creating a Neighborhood Map. If you are already a subscriber, you can access it in the free resources section.
Mapping skills are fun to teach and they are important skills for kids to learn. They will be skills that can be used throughout life for reading and interpreting maps, travel, navigation, and understanding the vastness of a country and the world.
What are some of the different skills needed?
There are many different elements to understand in mapping. Primary children are able to learn how to use grids, directions, legends, symbols, and scale. One of my favorite ways to teach using a grid and coordinates is to play Battleship. We didn't own the game, but my father used to draw out grids on paper and we would play the game. I used to have 4 or 5 sets of the game in my class, so it was a popular choice for free time.
Once they become familiar with using the grid, they can move on to identifying objects on a grid and writing down the coordinates. It is important to practice this until they are able to easily find items and also explain where they are. Children need to understand how the coordinates work and how to be able to locate spots on the grid. This can then be transferred to actual maps.
Next Steps For Teaching Mapping Skills
Here are some of the next steps that I cover when teaching mapping skills.
Some of the materials and terminology and what they represent:
There are different ways to represent the world we live in. A globe is a sphere that represents the earth and shows the various continents and bodies of water. Paper drawings of places are called maps. There are many different types of maps.
Maps have symbols on them. These are pictures or shapes that represent real objects or places.
Legends are guides that show the symbols and explain what they are. Most maps have legends to help with identifying objects and places.
Learning to understand directions and how to follow them is important if you want to make sure you are going the right way. A compass rose is used to show where to find north, east, south, west, and the places in between.
Maps can be used for fun activities also. Imagine finding a treasure map and having to follow the directions to locate the treasure.
Distance is another important thing to understand when learning mapping skills. In order to know how far away things are, a scale is used. For example, 1 inch could be 50 yards, or 2 cm could be 30 m.
Neighborhood maps are great for learning about areas where people live. Check out a few different types of neighborhoods and then maybe try to create one of your own.
It is a good way to practice using the skills learned in a practical way.
People use maps to plan trips, travel to different locations, and find specific places. Some people use paper maps, and others use electronic devices. It is important to learn how to read maps and follow directions.
A Freebie To Remember Different Skills
I created this little mapping skills booklet that explains many of the things written about here in kid friendly language. You can get your free copy by clicking on the image below. Subscribers to my newsletter can access it through the free resources tab.
Here are a couple of sample pages to check out.
Well, there you have a basic outline of how I teach mapping skills to my students. If you are interested in getting some of the mapping resources pictured above to use in your classroom or for online teaching, check out my social studies section in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
Canada is a big country with many different provinces and territories with special places and activities that make them unique. Learning about the many cultures and interesting facts can be fun, but depending on the resources and activities, it can also be difficult for some children. Informational text and reference materials often use much more technical language than some children are used to and this makes it hard for emergent readers to handle. That doesn't mean they can't do the job, but it does mean that they may need some extra support and resources that are less difficult to read.
Provinces And Territories Booklets
I have created a series of books about the provinces and territories in Canada that are suited for doing basic research and usable by students in late primary and early intermediate grades. They were created to help those who were overwhelmed with reference materials.
French is Canada's second language, and French Immersion is taught in many places. It is also the main language in some places on the east coast of Canada. I have created these materials in both English and French for this reason.
Here is a video preview from one of the books in the series. Click on the image to view it.
More Canadian Resources
I have also created other materials for working with symbols of Canada. Here is a bingo game that I created. It has 6 different boards and is available in English and French. These 24 symbols represent Canada from coast to coast. There is one card that has the words with the symbols as well. I have created separate vocabulary cards as well that can be used for various activities.
I Have, Who Has? games are fun and help kids focus on both images and vocabulary. These task cards are 24 symbols of Canada. They are a great supplementary activity for your Canada unit.
If you are looking for some cute number cards for calendars or other activities, here are some with Canadian kids and some with Canadian animals.
If you are looking for a more in-depth study of Canada, check out my Canadian Social Studies section to find more materials. Here is one project in the section.
Well, there you have it. If you are looking for some resources for your late primary/early intermediate classroom check these out. Have fun studying Canada with your students.
Place value activities help children to understand numbers and what the digits mean. Here are some fun place value games and activities to help children to represent numbers in a variety of ways.
Different Ways For Representing Numbers
Here is a matching game that helps kids find the three different forms of the number: standard notation, expanded notation, and base ten form.
These bingo cards go with the number cards above. You can choose one set of numbers and play bingo with them. The base ten cards are more difficult to use, so I recommend that you do this with partners so that the players can look carefully at the cards to figure out the numbers. The expanded notation and standard notation cards can be used with larger groups.
Place Value Games And Resources
Themed place value worksheets are a great way to move from concrete activities to abstract practice. These worksheets are great for year round use. They give practice with standard notation, expanded notation, base ten form, and number words. I have made a generic one as well. You can get a copy here.
Click the image below to get your free place value practice worksheets.
This is the product that I used in the above examples. It contains the three forms of representing numbers and 6 bingo cards. Click on the image to find out more.
Get your place value worksheets here.
If you prefer on online version, you can try these Boom Cards. Click on the images to find out more.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.