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Consumer Math

Consumer math looks at how math is used daily life. Most of the activities we do, from budgeting to meal planning to student loans to insurance require some level of math.

There are resources here for both younger and older students.

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Essential Consumer Math Concepts

Consumer math is the study of the basic mathematics concepts that are used in daily life. It is teaching the real world applications of math to students. This post lists the key topics that any consumer math course should include to ensure that students are prepared for the future.

Teaching Elementary Students How to Make Change

Rachel Kaplove explains how to teach elementary students how to make change showing two different methods, adding or subtracting.

Why two different methods? Some students will grasp one method easier than the other. And students should learn how to work the problem both ways as a foundation for the future.

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Money and Finance for Kids

This site covers a number of interesting money related topics, including topics like Counting Money, Making Change, Money Word Problems, and Filling Out A Check. Other topics include how money is minted, budgeting, taxes and economic themes like supply and demand.

This site can be a good resource both for simple lessons and as a foundation for an interdisciplinary exploration including math, money, economics and government.

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Money Word Problems Worksheets

This page contains links to free math worksheets for Money Word Problems problems. Worksheets vary in complexity from simple addition and subtraction to mixed operation problems with extra unused facts. Answer keys are included.

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Currency Conversion Activity

This activity shows how to convert money between different currencies by constructing an exchange rate table using current data from the Internet and a calculator. Travel to many countries and compare prices.

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Does Unit Price Always Give the Best Buy?

This message exchange with Dr. Math shows how simple word problems might not really give you the "right" answer. The exchange looks at a simple "buy 11 videos for $20 or 13 videos for $25" and how the right answer is not always the mathematical one.

Dr. Math also proposes a different way of stating the problem that makes it much more interesting – and truer to the real world.

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What Makes Something Seem Like A Good Deal?

What makes something seem like a good deal? Subtle ways of framing the same information can make your students more compelled to purchase. Which sounds better 25% off or $5 off? Most people see the numbers and not the % and $ signs and act accordingly. When is 20% off better than $150 off?

Every day, you are bombarded by discounts. Show your students how they are being manipulated and that should always "do the math".

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Auto Insurance Teacher's Guide

This teaching kit from Horace Mann, part of the "Lessons on Insurance and Credit" defines auto insurance, gives a basic understanding of what an auto policy covers, and provides students with general knowledge of the importance of having auto insurance.

The lesson includes a video, printable student guides and how to fill out an accident report diagram. Other segments cover home & life insurance and the basics of credit, it's use and abuse.

Should I Borrow Student Loans to Help Pay for College?

This short animated video, goes over the questions your students should ask themselves and the steps they should take before deciding to use student loans to help cover college costs.

Makes a great introductory video. Afterwards, you can "work the math" for topics in the video like...

  • Is it better to save or borrow?
  • How much will this loan cost me?
  • How much student loan debt is too much?
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How Much Student Loan Debt is Too Much?

Taking out any amount of student debt is a big decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. While a degree is still valuable when applying for jobs, the benefits of higher education or less cut-and-dry now than they've ever been.

This post looks at topics like...

  • Estimate Your Starting Salary
  • Consider Employment During College
  • Types of Student Loans: Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized
  • Repayment Plan Costs & Options
  • Using Scholarships

From the post, "Make sure you read the fine print and nail down the numbers before you sign on the dotted line." Showing your students how to do this can be one of the best things you ever teach them.

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