Monday, October 17, 2011

Using "Smart" to Introduce Money Unit

When introducing a unit, I love to generate interest by reading a story or, in this case, a poem. My favorite to introduce a unit on money is "Smart" by Shel Silverstein. It can be found in Where the Sidewalk Ends. The poem is about a boy who trades a dollar for two quarters because two is more than one. It continues until he ends up with only five pennies and is very proud of himself.

To start with, I read the poem straight through and ask students to write in their math journals if they feel "Smart" was an appropriate title for the poem and to explain their answer. We usually come to the conclusion that money isn't about how many of each coin you have; it is about the value of those coins.

I then read the poem through again while the students use manipulatives to show the trades and calculate how much money was lost at each level.

The students love this poem because they love to point out how they are smarter than the boy in the poem.

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