Stage 2 - number – addition and subtraction – money

Students need to be provided with experiences related to trading, sorting, classifying and counting using money. Classroom problems related to the students’ experiences with money will provide the most meaningful links to these activities, eg. shopping


Students can:

  • calculate equivalent amounts of money using different denominations
  • solve addition and subtraction problems involving money
  • calculate change and round to the nearest five cents

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1 – value matching

Divide students into small groups. Each group has a collection of coins. One student draws one or two coins randomly from the collection. The other students in the group find as many ways as possible to get the total value of the coins using other combinations of coins.

1 dollar same as 2 x 50c same as5 x 20c

Students make a chart by drawing the representations or using pictures of coins.

Studyladder – represent money in multiple ways – coins only

Activity 2 – money problems

Students consider problems based on the use of money in everyday life, e.g. ‘Sarah has $2.50. She buys a magazine for $1.45 and a chocolate for 25c. How much money does she have left? Can she buy another chocolate?’

‘How many gumballs at 55c each could I buy with $5.00 and how much change would I get?’ Such problems could incorporate the use of a calculator.

Studyladder –solving money problems

Activity 3 – class shops

Many different kinds of shops can be replicated in the classroom. They can be stocked with items made in class, thus creating a link between Mathematics and other curriculum areas. Each shop could have two shop keepers. Having several shops running simultaneously ensures that student shoppers do not have to wait for a long time to be served. Initially shopping could be conducted within the class with all money being returned at the end, but later students could be involved in running a stall or a fete or handling small amounts of money in other real shopping situations.

Some suitable shops could include:

  • Art Gallery – stocked with students’ artwork and craft items
  • Bookshop – stocked with students’ own writing
  • Cake Shop
  • Toy Shop


Australian curriculum reference: ACMNA080

Solve problems involving purchases and the calculation of change to the nearest five cents, with and without the use of digital technologies.

NSW syllabus reference: MA2-5NA

Uses mental and written strategies for addition and subtraction involving two-, three-, four- and five-digit numbers.

Student resources

Studyladder – Comparing and counting money (notes and coins)

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