Change-Makers: LE Students Create and Play Money Math Games
Learning about money is a fixture of the Lower Elementary experience.
Teachers instruct first graders in the names and values of different coins and adding like coins. In second grade, they’re learning about bills, and thinking about different combinations of coins and bills to equal a sum—so for example, “provide four different ways to make $1.55.” Then, in third grade, student start practicing counting, exchanging, and making change with bills and coins up to $1000.00. The culmination of all these lessons is working through money-related word problems.
One of the key precepts of the Montessori philosophy is the benefits of mixed-age classrooms. Older children act as teachers to younger students both through direct lessons and guidance, and more subtle modeling of good behavior and practices. In turn, older students can reinforce their own learning by teaching new concepts to younger students.
So when Gianni B. said he wanted to create a game about making change, Room IA teachers jumped at the opportunity for some engaging mixed-age learning. They tasked all seven third graders with developing their own games around money concepts, culminating in a fun game day in which the younger students practiced their own change-making skills through flash cards, board games, and even a cardboard pinball machine.