Teaching personal financial literacy can seem like an afterthought in your math classroom. Because the standards spiral from grade to grade, it is important for your students to be exposed to the TEKS. Students also find the real-world applications of personal financial literacy very appealing.
Find some great, low-prep activities that your students will enjoy that are a great match for your 5th grade financial literacy standards.
Financial Literacy Reading Passages
Many financial literacy resources are written for students that are older than our 5th grade students. Most states do not have personal financial literacy as a part of their standards except for high school math electives. This means many things you find are not designed for 5th graders.
Make sure you use reading that your students can understand easily enough to focus on learning about the topics. These reading passages explain taxes and balancing a budget in student-friendly terminology that matches the 5th grade personal financial literacy TEKS.
Math Centers & Online Games
Independent learning activities are really important for your 5th grade financial literacy unit because there is often not a ton of time to teach all of the topics. Here are some fun and interactive ideas.
A Balancing Budgets Activity
Students learn about building a balanced budget by drawing cards that have different components of a budget. Will they be able to deposit money into their account or will they need to make a withdraw? The real-world actions on the cards help students learn about what adults need to include in their monthly budgets.
Financial Literacy Task Cards
Build a math station around this task card set. Students get an opportunity to prove they know all about 5th grade financial literacy by answering these questions. Some are multiple choice and some are open-ended. All of the cards are aligned perfectly with the TEKS. You can get this set for free right now.
Online Interactive Games
It is always fun to have a few online games ready for your students. They are engaging and interactive, but you have to make sure they really help your students learn. Here are a couple that are great representations of the budgeting TEKS.
The game Spent is available from the Next Gen Personal Finance game arcade. It deals with very realistic budgeting choices that someone might face living paycheck to paycheck. It is intense and would be best played as a class so you can support the conversation. Some of your students’ families may be living this game in real life. It has a reflection page that provides you with some talking points for your class. This game definitely brings home the standard which asks students how to make changes to their budget when expenses exceed income.
Another online budgeting game is Hit the Road from My Credit Union. This game is a light-hearted budget adventure where three friends must keep a balanced budget during a road trip across the country. Students budget for food, gas, medicine, and entertainment. They can choose to work odd jobs while on their trip to balance their budget. This game could be played as a class or in small groups. You may want to have your students keep a paper budget of their trip to practice.
Have your students create a flip book that explains all the aspects of 5th grade financial literacy. Because financial literacy often has to be taught quickly, interactive notebooks are a good way for students to go back and review what they have already learned. A flip book is a great way to organize information for each of the topics taught in fifth grade.
There are also no prep activities that can be easily used to reinforce what is being taught in class like gross and net income and balancing budgets.