Anyone who has ever received incorrect change knows just how important math is when managing money. Calculators and cash registers are great tools, but they are only as useful as the numbers that are fed into them. Being able to quickly make changes in one's head can save students money and help them develop math skills that will help them for a lifetime.In addition to understanding and applying basic addition and subtraction math skills to calculate costs and change, other money-centric concepts like planning, saving, and investing are also key elements to help students start to build their own healthy money habits down the road.
Whether you have elementary school students, high school students –or both– in your home, there are plenty of resources and online money games to incorporate and explain these ideas and help them apply what they are learning about math and money in real life.
Money: Coins, Dollars, and Saving
When money first started being used, every coin was made from precious metal. The metal had a value based on the economy of an area and how easily that metal was found. Copper was more abundant than silver, so the penny was cheaper than the quarter, but over time, the buying power of the coins became less tied to any single metal or substance. Once this happened, coins no longer had to be made out of precious metal, which is why nickels are now made out of nickel-coated copper, for instance. Paper dollars could be traded in for precious metals at a bank for a time. One of the most important things money can do is be earned, accumulated, and saved. Compound interest is also an incredible money concept for students to understand since even small savings can become large and plentiful with enough time. Plus, young students have the most time to grow their savings, so even a young age can be a good time to create some basic understanding of the elementary concepts of savings and interest by practicing math skills like addition, subtraction, and even how calculating simple percentages.
Counting and Skip Counting
Skip counting is a technique that helps teach people how to multiply and divide. You can skip count by any number, but the most commonly seen are 10 and 2. To skip count, you just keep adding the number you're counting by to the last number: For example, skip counting by 2 from 0 gives you 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc. Skip counting is more targeted toward younger students who are learning the basics of core mathematics.
Addition and Subtraction
Addition and subtraction are some of the most basic math skills, and they form the foundation on which other, more advanced skills rely, from multiplication and division to exponents. If you learn these two functions, you can eventually learn any other form of math. These skills are essential to a lot of day-to-day activities, and they can be fun to learn as well. Strong mathematic skills - even as basic as addition and subtraction - are going to be the best skills you can teach your young students since they will use and build upon these skills for the rest of their lives when it comes to saving, budgeting, investing, and much more.
Multiplication and Division
Multiplication and division are very fast forms of addition and subtraction. For instance, 5 x 5 is the same as 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5, but it's a lot quicker to write 5 x 5. Rather than adding up or counting stacks of things, multiplication allows people to get solutions faster. Division is the opposite of multiplication: While multiplication adds groups of numbers, division splits a larger number into smaller groups. Again, building and encouraging these math skills in young students will lay the foundation for the rest of their lives and eventually help to set them up for success in future money matters and situations.
Problem-solving is a workout for your brain. Looking at different problems and finding solutions to them helps active minds make new connections. This promotes learning and helps slow down age's adverse effects on cognitive ability. Having fun while working out the brain makes it even easier and more fun.
Shopping and Spending
Shopping and spending can be fun, but it's not so fun when the money runs out. One of the most important uses of math is helping to budget money. Everyone has living expenses, some of which are fixed costs, while others will change. Some expenses are necessities, and others are useful but not essential. Creating a budget that considers all living expenses allows people to build up their savings, make investments, and plan for their future. Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to build wealth and become financially independent. Saving now can ensure a healthy financial future.
Money Games for Elementary School Students
Learning the value of money and how to make change are essential skills for any student –even those in elementary school. Not only will money games that boost an understanding of money and savings in elementary school students build on math skills, but these games can also introduce them to positive spending and savings habits at an early age. Budgeting, setting savings goals, and understanding discounts are concepts that even younger students can understand with the use of money games and family encouragement and guidance. Concepts such as knowing the difference between needs and wants, the value of working (chores) to earn money, and prioritizing or planning their spending are also the foundations to set them up for success in money matters later in life.Online Money Games for Elementary School Students
Money Games for High School StudentsThere are a lot of fun money games and scenarios you can create to get high school students thinking about investing. When you think about it, the stock market itself is its own money game with specific rules and risks for the moves you make in it. While any type of investing should be done with the supervision of an adult and, ideally a certified financial advisor, you can spark an interest in saving and building wealth in students’minds by first getting them to imagine or list their favorite businesses or brands. From there, have them look up the company or owner of their favorite brand. For example, Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft, and Microsoft is a publicly traded company. If they were to look at the stock of Microsoft, they would see a trend of ups and downs in the price of that stock over time. All the math and money skills of multiplication, division, fraction, and percentages now come into play, and students can use stocks as a basic money game to calculate returns (“percentages”) or price changes. Even problem-solving skills come into play as students can match the highs and lows of stock prices to events about that company in the news or even overall basic economic trends.
Interactive games online that explain savings and interest concepts can be one of the best tools for students to apply and practice the skills they are learning in math, social studies, and other subjects at school. Perhaps even more important, money games for high school students can help them develop good money habits and prepare them for their own positive financial future.
Stock Market Games and Money Games for High School Students
Deals on Money Games, Education, and Online Learning
While the above math and money game resources mentioned are free, you can also find and advance your money and math skills online in an ongoing and structured way through various educational portals. Udemy is a massive open online course provider with instructor-submitted content from over 50,000 instructors around the world in over 60 languages. You can find many Udemy promo codes to get the cost of educational videos down to around $10 to $12. Another resource is Skillshare, which is an online learning community with educational videos. You start for free and can get a 10% off annual Premium membership discount using our Skillshare coupon. When it comes to actual schooling and homework, another online resource is Chegg, which provides digital and physical textbook rentals, online tutoring, and other services for students. Often you can find various Chegg coupons on our site allowing you to save money on the cost of textbooks or shipping charges. Chegg states everything is “figureoutable” which is a perfect slogan!
Let us know if you have any other recommendations for math and money resources as we actively update this page when we come across new ones.