It all started with a picture.
Last week I saw this post on Instagram and immediately my head started buzzing with ideas. A snowman store where the kids buy all the pieces that they need to build a snowman?? LOVE.IT. We have been working with money the last few weeks and I decided that this would be a great way to make it meaningful for my kids.
My teaching assistant donated a TON of real coins to the classroom a few years ago so the kids get to learn with real money which they absolutely love!
To prep the stores I just cut up some carrot noses, hats, earmuffs, scarves, sticks and a bunch of buttons and coal. I also used die-cut circles for the snowballs.
There are a ton of different ways you can set this up but this is what worked for my class:
I projected the price list up on the starboard.
I split my class into 2 groups - buyers and sellers. We have 6 tables in our room so I had 3 tables of buyers and 3 tables of sellers. I had each buyer table go to a specific seller table so everyone always had a task.
The buyers had to buy 1 piece at a time for their snowman. They chose the piece to buy, checked the board to see how much that piece cost, and gathered the correct amount of money.
I wanted the sellers to get some practice with making change so I made the rule that the buyers could NOT use pennies to buy. This rule also made the buyers had to really think about coin values so for example if they wanted to buy a scarf for 7 cents they had to pay with 10 cents and the seller had to give them 3 cents back.
Each time the buyers bought a piece, they took it back to their desk and recorded how much that item cost them. This was opportunity for some more great math skills as many of the times were bought in multiples so for example, they had to figure out how much 4 buttons cost at 2 cents per button.
I just loved hearing all of the math talk going on while they were buying and making change for each other. When 1 group had finished buying all the pieces for their snowmen I had all the buyers put their pieces into a plastic bag to store while we switched up. Then all the buyers became sellers and the sellers became buyers. When we finished the second round everyone got to glue their snowmen together.
Quick tip: you will have to keep going around and transferring pennies from the buyer bucket back to the seller bucket so that each "store" has enough pennies to make change.
The next day, we went back and counted up how much money they spent in all. I gave everyone back their snowman, a recording sheet, and a coin mat. (Please excuse the terrible lighting on this phone pic!)
First they put the correct amount of money in the box for each item bought Then it was time to count. My kids are doing really great at this point at counting up large numbers of mixed coins so I decided to add a bit more of a challenge. We watched the Brainpop Jr lesson on equivalent coins and I told them I wanted them to get their money down to the smallest number of coins that they could before counting up their spending total. After they had filled their mat with the cost of each item, they started trading in coins for larger coins. When they couldn't trade in anymore, they counted up their spending total and recorded it.
Finally I had them compare spending totals with a friend and discuss why their totals were different. Again, there was some really great math talk going on as they discussed why their totals were different and compared what they spent their money on.
I absolutely loved this activity. I'll admit, it was loud and a seemingly chaotic but everyone was really engaged and practicing a ton of math skills in the process.
You can find the price list and recording sheets by clicking the picture below.
Have a great weekend yall!!