In pre-algebra, among other financial ideas, there are lots of examples are about cost comparisons and buying options. We have a great many problems of the week with this focus, the example below illustrates one scenario that is a good pre-algebra problem and has a financial context:

Chuck is buying some cola for his friends. He can go to the vending machine and get 12 oz. cans for \$.60 per can, he can go to the corner store and get 20 oz. bottles for \$.95 per bottle, or he can go to the grocery store and get 32 oz. jugs for \$1.45 per jug.

He has \$4.25 to spend.

What’s presented above is a scenario that can really get kids thinking about money, math and financial ideas. It can be a great teaching tool to give kids the information above and ask them to brainstorm about the above ideas, often they will generate great questions that they are interested in solving that are mathematically rich and interesting. In this case, the financial context will help them relate to the mathematical ideas and build a sense of comparison shopping, unit costs, and in some cases, what it might be worth doing to save money or what might be other associated costs that one could incur when trying to save money (gas costs, time, etc.).

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