# Why Count Your Money, When You Can Estimate?

The end of spring break means we are in the midst of our school’s spring financial literacy unit.  This is always a favorite of both students and teachers.  We ground our work in very concrete community related activities, such as going to the bank and going to the store.  Students love spending money and teachers love going on community walks in the spring and early summer. Everyone wins!

Before we start going on trips, I wanted to do some number sense work with my classes relating to the counting of money.  As we left for spring break I tweeted about an estimation idea inspired by counting money.

Right on cue, Graham Fletcher, who writes his own amazing blog here, gave me some sage advice.

I took Graham’s advice and ran with it.  As much as we like our money math standards to relate to identification of coins and bills and getting accurate counts on prices and change, estimation is a key skill in any “real world” financial transaction.  When was the last time you stood at the supermarket register counting out the entire pile of change you got from the cashier? Generally, we look at the coins in our hand and make a quick estimate as to whether we think it is the correct change or not.  So I used the idea from my tweet, took some inspiration from fellow math teachers Andrew Stadel and Joe Schwartz, and turned it all into a financial literacy lesson.

Here’s how it went…

# Daily Math Routines

It all started when Dan Meyer tweeted this Which One Doesn’t Belong prompt…

The MathTwitterBlogosphere had a ball using logical and comical thinking to conceive of ways to not pick the muppet.  I said Daniel Craig didn’t belong because his hands were showing.  Then I decided to send a response…

But all the fun and games got me thinking about my own classes and how I could leverage this fun for my students.  Enter Mary Bourassa and her new #MTBoS site Which One Doesn’t Belong?  Inspired by the work of Christopher DanielsonSteve Wyborney, and Chris Hunter, Mary has created a wonderful new website meant to spark mathematical conversations and debates among students and teachers.  It joins a list of other #MTBoS inspired websites that provide prompts for beginning of class activities. Beginning of class activities are called many different things: do nows, openers, bellwork, warm-ups, but I like to refer to them as daily routines.