Money word problems: How much more do I need?

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SWBAT determine how much more money they need to get to a designated total.

Big Idea

Students solve word problems to determine how much more money they need and then draw the coins necessary to make a total.


10 minutes

I start class by playing a game!

I divide students into groups of 2-4 and have them sit at desks or in small groups on the rug.  I hand each group 1 white board, 1 white board marker, and 1 bag of coin manipulatives.

I write an amount on the board (ex. $.57). I have students work together to “make” that amount using coins and/or draw the amount on their white boards.  The first team to finish gets 1 point (optional).

I play this game for 5-7points—it will give students practice with building totals using coins. 

Introduction to New Material

10 minutes

After finishing the game, I hand out white boards to all students.  

We are going to work on a problem of the day. I write the problem of the day on the board (or you could put it on a piece of chart paper)

Problem of the Day:

At the grocery store, I buy Oreos for $.77, chips for $.44, and an orange for $.60.  How much money do I need?

I allow students to work independently for 2-3 minutes, stopping to work with students who struggle with adding money amounts.

When finished, have 1 student share out his/her answer and how they determined the total.

Now that we know how much money I need, we are going to work on part II of our problem of the day.

Problem of the Day part II:

My sister gives me a $1.00.  How much more money do I need and what coins could I use to create this amount?  Draw the coins on your white board.

In order to model this problem, I lay a $1.00 under the document camera or draw a $1.00 bill on the board. I tell students that I already have this money and I need to know how much MORE money I need and what coins I can use to make this amount of money. 

I allow students 2-5 minutes to work—I circulate to determine understanding and the strategies that students are using.

When finished, I ask 2-3 students to share their work and the strategies that they used.

If I believe students need another example, I give them another practice problem. 

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Guided practice is differentiated based on understanding of this skill.  (I determine groupings based on general mathematical understanding of money and student performance/understanding during the independent practice)  

Group A—Intervention group

Students will work in small groups to use coin manipulatives  and solve a problem similar to the problem of the day. Depending on student understanding, teacher can model the problem for the students before they start to work in their small groups. 

Group B--On level and extension 

Students will work in small groups or partners to solve a problem similar to the problem of the day.  Students will not use coin manipulatives.

(Guided practice can be done in math journals or on the worksheet attached).

When finished, I bring the students back together and go over the practice problem, pausing to discuss any misconceptions and to point out useful student strategies.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Independent practice is differentiated based on student understanding of this skill.  

Group A--In need of intervention

Students will work with my guidance to solve word problems where all addends are less than $1.00.  Students in this group will have access to coin manipulatives if they want/need them. 

Group B-On level and extension

Students in group B will work independently to solve word problems where some addends are more than $1.00

During independent practice, I spend most of my time with group A but circulate throughout the class to support students, check for understanding and see where any breakdowns in understanding occur. 



5 minutes

During the closing, I ask students to share their work on the first independent practice problem to a teammate who is in their group.  As students share, I circulate to listen to student explanations and determine any breakdowns in understanding. 

When finished, I ask one or two students to share their work to the class by placing their worksheet underneath the document camera and explaining their strategies. 

This share serves two purposes--first it allows students time to explain their strategies which helps them to internalize their thinking.  Secondly it allows students to hear new strategies that they might use the next time that they are doing a problem like this one.