Money word problems offer a great way for second-graders to learn about the various coin denominations and the concept of change, which they are probably becoming familiar with every time you use cash to buy something. Money math is also an effective and sneaky way to strengthen your child’s addition and subtraction skills as well as improve his or her ability to master word problems.
Here are four money word problems you can easily adjust to provide multiple challenges for your second-grader to solve. Encourage your child to use actual coins to help figure these out.
1. Coin totals
Molly has 1 quarter, 2 dimes, 2 nickels and 3 pennies. How much money does she have total?
This problem calls for basic addition to arrive at an answer. Using real money works great with this problem, as your second-grader can pick out the correct coins and add from there.
2. Who has the most money?
Christopher has 2 quarters and 4 pennies. Maria has 4 dimes and 3 nickels. Who has more money?
Money word problems that involve more than one step may seem complex but are great to learn comparison. Your child will also discover that more coins, or bigger coins, do not necessarily mean you have more money.
3. Change for a dollar
Nathan has a dollar and wants to buy a pack of gum that costs 79 cents. How much change will he receive after using his dollar to buy the gum?
Making and receiving change is most likely the first money function your child may experience, so this is good practice. There are two ways a second-grader can solve this: Either do the subtraction in his head or on paper, or collect a dollar’s worth of coins and take away 79 cents. The latter way is effective in demonstrating that 79 cents can be achieved via several different coin combinations.
4. How much can you buy?
Sarah has $2.50 and wants to buy as many donuts as she possibly can with her money. Donuts cost $0.50 each. How many donuts can she buy?
Besides working with money, this word problem offers a little taste of multiplication and division. If your child isn’t comfortable skip-counting yet, she can use coins to come up with the answer: Have her count out $2.50 and take away 50 cents at a time until she is out of money. You can make this problem more challenging by using numbers that will result in change.
Does your second-grader enjoy money word problems?