# Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Money

## Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Money

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Dear Family, below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of money, as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about money. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

#### Understanding Money

Difficult Topic? Although money plays a very common, and perhaps very important, part in every child’s life, money is not automatically easy or obvious to learn about:

• Money comes in different colours, shapes and sizes, and in metal and paper forms (i.e. coins and notes), each of which has its own value.
• Furthermore, outside of the Euro Zone, most countries have their own currency and denominations of coins. And, when changing currency, you cannot do a straight swap i.e. €1 doesn’t equal £1 or \$1; the new value must be calculated using an exchange rate, which also varies.
• Many children do not recognise that the euro coins and notes follow a specific pattern ie they always have a 1, 2 or 5 as the first digit (see image below). That is why, when asked to draw the coins required to make a given amount, many children will still often suggest coins that don’t exist eg 3c, 7c etc.
• The sizes of the coins and notes are NOT proportional to their value i.e. a 20c coin is not twice as big as a 10c coin; a €100 note is not ten times the size of the €10 note.
• Money can be expressed using the symbols € or c, but NOT using both at the same time. Sometimes there’s a decimal point; sometimes there’s not. And, when using the € sign, it comes first (even though €6 is said as “six euro” as opposed to “euro six”), whereas the c sign comes after the numeral.

So even though understanding and using money is a vital life skill, it can’t be taken for granted that children will easily “get” this understanding.

Furthermore, more and more, transactions are becoming cashless, as people use credit/debit cards, money apps, contactless and online payments more than ever before. In the recent past, coins and notes, were very much a regular part of a child’s experiences; watching others counting out coins and notes to pay for goods, perhaps handing over a larger amount than required and watching change being handed back. Because of cashless transactions, today’s children are missing out on essential opportunities to handle cash, and/or see it being handled in real-life situations. The increased use of plastic and contactless payments also limits the opportunities for people to use their maths skills to total mentally, calculate change etc.

#### Practical Suggestions for all Children

• Cash is King: Since today’s children have less exposure to cash transactions, where possible, allow your child to handle real coins and notes.
• Collect coins in a jar and invite your child to count the money every so often to find out the total. Are there different ways to count mixed coins? What strategies might be better (more efficient)?
• If your child is not able to count up the total of amounts yet, then ask them to sort the coins into groups e.g. brown coins, gold coins, coins with two colours, coins with 1 on them, with 2 on them, with 5 on them etc (see also the Coins Game below). In particular, draw their attention to the fact that all the euro coins and notes only start with the digits 1, 2 or 5 and may or may not be followed by one or two zeros.
• Play shop at home. Use empty food containers etc., as goods to be bought/sold. Use play money or real coins for cash.
• If shopping with cash, involve your child: get them to handle the money, to identify the coins and/or most suitable amount to hand to the cashier and to predict (roughly or accurately, depending on the ability of the child) the change due back.
• If your child gets pocket money encourage them to talk about how much they have, how much they spend, how much they have left.
• Can you afford it? Should you buy it? While cashless transactions might be more regular than cash ones, one thing that has remained constant is that we all still appreciate the value of money, and getting value for our money.
• Encourage your child to budget and save for upcoming events (Christmas, holidays etc.) and/or to purchase more expensive items ( eg bike, games console, phone etc). Discuss the amount of money required, how much they currently have, how much they could expect to earn and/or save each week, how long it will take for them to have the necessary amount. Encourage them to write down this information as a type of written budget or financial plan (see also the Budget Game below, for 3rd class up).
• When purchasing items encourage your child to consider its value, its cost, and whether a similar item be purchased elsewhere for less. Shop around, as they say, to research your options, whether in the actual or virtual (online) shops.
• When grocery shopping, keep an eye out for the advertised special offers and deals; are they good options? What about multi-packs; are they good value? If there are different multi-pack offers for the same product, which offer is the best value? But don’t forget that just because there is good value on offer, if we end up buying more of the product than we need, will it end up going to waste?
• Go through the till receipt together after shopping; what did you buy? What items cost the most? What items cost the least? What products cost about the same amount? Was there any product that you hadn’t realised cost so much or so little?
• When out shopping for clothes, give your child a limited amount to spend. It is amazing how value-driven this can make your child become, and more selective of what they will purchase!
• If you are comfortable allowing your child to use the internet, he/she could help research a holiday or break for the family. Examine together which destination has the best deal/offers, etc.
• Money makes the world go round! As mentioned earlier, children may not realise that, outside of the Euro Zone, most countries have their own currency, and that, when changing currency, you cannot do a straight swap i.e. €1 doesn’t equal £1 or \$1. Rather, the new value must be calculated using an exchange rate, which also varies. If going on holiday to a non-Euro Zone country, involve your child in researching the exchange rate, and calculating how much of the foreign currency they will get when they exchange their euro.

#### Digital Resources for Infants

Spot the coins: Beginner level: Find the coins hidden in each picture. Advanced level: find the coins and order them according to value.

Coins game: Click on the Euro flag to select euro coins. Start with Sorting to sort One Coin or Two Coins into the money box(es). Next try Ordering and Counting money. Start with the easier options in each section and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Toy Shop: Work out which coins will buy toy shop items, using just One Coin or Mixed Coins. In the Mixed Coins option you can also calculate change.  Start with the easier options and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Keep Helen’s money safe: Read the story and decide what Helen should do with her money to keep it safe. Play ages 5-6

Moneyville is a fun and entertaining online virtual world that gives your child a basic understanding of the value of money and the basic principles behind earning and spending money. Suitable for children of 5 years and up.

My Money Week: Run every year in the UK around May, this is a national activity week which aims to boost children’s skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.

Money: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)

#### Digital Resources for First and Second Classes

Spot the coins: Beginner level: Find the coins hidden in each picture. Advanced level: find the coins and order them according to value.

Coins game: Click on the Euro flag to select euro coins. Start with Sorting to sort One Coin or Two Coins into the money box(es). Next try Ordering and Counting money. Start with the easier options in each section and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Toy Shop: Work out which coins will buy toy shop items, using just One Coin or Mixed Coins. In the Mixed Coins option you can also calculate change.  Start with the easier options and move on if too simple and/or when confident.

Maths is Fun – Money: Interactive games including Make the Amount, drag and drop the euro coins to make the required amount; Money Master, how fast can you give euro change.

Moneyville is a fun and entertaining online virtual world that gives your child a basic understanding of the value of money and the basic principles behind earning and spending money. Suitable for children of 5 years and up.

Keep Helen’s money safe: Read the story, decide what Helen should do with her money to keep it safe, and keep a record of the money that she gets along the way. Play ages 7-8.

My Money Week: Run every year in the UK around May, this is a national activity week which aims to boost children’s skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.

Coin Cruncher: In this game you either select the correct coins to Make the Total or select the correct value for How much? There is an Easy level (no timer) and a Hard level (same question types but with a timer).

The Change Game: Click on the correct amount of change that you should get back.

That Quiz – Money: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. Ensure that the currency is set to Euro and the level is set to 1. Each time do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, if not stay at that level. There are three different types of activities: For Identify (it automatically starts on this) you must type in the value of the cash shown; if you set it to Compare you must click on the amount of greater value; if you set it to Make change you must click on the cash required to make the correct change for the given transaction.

Adding Money Values: This video from Operation Maths allows the children to practice their addition of money skills.

Custom Car Garage: Select and pay for car accessories, using the correct coins. For first and second class, start at level one initially, and then go up levels as the child gets more competent.

Coconut Ordering Game: Select Prices and € to order amounts of euro

Money: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)

#### Digital Resources for Third to Sixth Classes

Maths is Fun – Money: Interactive games including Make the Amount, drag and drop the euro coins to make the required amount; Money Master, how fast can you give euro change; Unit Price, calculate the price per required quantity.

Money: Background information on money from Maths is Fun, including currencies, finding unit price, interest, investing money, etc. Often there are also related activities.

My Money Week: Run every year in the UK around May, this is a national activity week which aims to boost children’s skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.

Is it a bargain? This fun mini-maths lesson gets pupils to use their mathematical ability to work out if so called ‘special offers’ are in fact good deals.

That Quiz – Money: This quiz has lots of options, on the left hand side, that can be changed to suit the ability of the child. Ensure that the currency is set to Euro and the level is set to 1. Each time do the set 10 questions, if you get 10 or 9 correct go up a level, if not stay at that level. There are three different types of activities: For Identify (it automatically starts on this) you must type in the value of the cash shown; if you set it to Compare you must click on the amount of greater value; if you set it to Make change you must click on the cash required to make the correct change for the given transaction.

Coconut Ordering Game: Select Prices and € to order amounts of euro

Space Trader: Practice spotting value for money as you trade with three outlandish alien shopkeepers for a range of space commodities.

Calculating Unit Rates: For 5th & 6th classes, this visual video from MashUp Math explains how to calculate unit rates, which has applications in unitary value in money, averages, ratios and proportion etc

Find the Total Cost: Again for 5th & 6th classes, this video from MashUp Math explains how to find the total cost, involving sales tax, ratios and proportions.

The Budget Game: Older children can explore the realities of budgeting, income and expenditure as well as how their own choices affect their money, well-being and enjoyment balances.

Money: a selection of games from ixl.com. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum.)