Balancing a Checkbook by Adding & Subtracting Decimals

By: Lisa Shamus
from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Middle School

Real-World Learning

Subject(s) of entry:

Blended Learning

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
5, Elementary school, Middle school

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
5, Elementary school, Middle school

Each student was given a fake check book. The students learned how to correctly write out checks, using the proper format. They got to experience balancing a checkbook by adding and subtracting decimals when making fake purchases and deposits.

Entry Narrative

Unit of Study:  Reading, Writing, Adding & Subtracting Decimals

The objective of this lesson was for the students to apply adding and subtracting decimals to balancing a checkbook. They also used proper wording when writing numbers in word form when writing out checks.  I started the lesson with a brief discussion about bank accounts and checks. A few students shared what they see their parents doing with finances. I showed the students how to properly write out a check.  We practiced a few together, then the students wrote checks out to each other for various things. Next, each student was given a fake checkbook.  We discussed the difference between deposits and withdrawals ad how addition and subtraction are used with them. We started with a given balance in our account. We then made deposits and withdrawals, balancing the checkbook after each transaction. The students were reminded to line up the decimals with each addition or subtraction. This activity showed the students how useful the skills that were taught are in real life. All of the students recognized the importance of knowing how to write decimals in word form and how to add or subtract decimals. They made the connection between what was taught in  math class to the financial world.

Entrant Bio(s)

I have been teaching middle school math at my current school for 10 years and for a total of 18 years. I have lived in the Baltimore area for my entire life (42 years). I am married with 2 children.