Learning to make calculations with money is a very important skill, as the children need to be able to understand money and how to use it with the four number operators: addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. The problem children have is that they don’t appreciate the value of money and how much things cost.
Whilst teaching in the UK I was asked by my Year 4 class how much I earned. So I asked them how much did they think I earned and they said £50 a year. This year, that conversation inspired me to do something which I would never have considered possible with a Year 4 class.
I set my children the task of working out how much money two teachers who worked in London and had two children could save in a year. In order to do this the children were given data which included their gross salary and the percentage of a teacher's annual salary they have to pay on income tax, pension contributions, student loans and National Insurance. As well as this they needed to find a place to live, work out housing bills and housing tax, children's lunch bills and after school care, travel to work, car costs and the weekly shop.
This week long task has included work on numbers, money, data handling, measures and time. Even though the task has been challenging, and the children have had to think deeply about the calculations that they needed to do, they have loved it as they are applying their skills in a real world situation.
What did the children think of the task?
“This week we did Mr Foster's all famous 'Budgeting task'. It was a fantastic experience. It involved a series of problems testing every single one of our maths skills. The objective was to discover how much a family spent and could save in 1 year. The most unbelievable part was all of the information was true! I hope one day you can cherish this moment too.” Gabriel, 4S
“In Maths we have been looking at how much these two teachers, Ben and Sara, can save in a year. We have looked at their taxes and tax relief, going on the computers looking at food on the Sainsbury’s website and looking for a house for them. We have been thinking about how they travel to work - which ticket is cheaper, yearly pass, monthly, weekly pass or a single day ticket? We also looked at student loans, pension contribution, housing bills etc. This week has been really fun!” Seonaid, 4S
- Andrew Foster, Year 4 Class Teacher and Primary Numberacy Coordinator