Not only is this year my first year working full-time in an elementary school; it is also my first time teaching math.  I quickly learned that using money is a huge concept for elementary math – especially in second grade.

Giving letters a monetary amount is not a new concept – you can find a ton of activity sheets on Pinterest based on this.  But let’s say you get on of these activity sheets, and it looks super cute and you can’t wait to use it – and then you realize you don’t know exactly what you want to do with it.

I created my own “Spelling with Cent$” sheet (free download below!) and embraced the wide variety of things I could do with it.  It turned out to be great for team games, for individual centers, or for whole class instruction!  Check out my ideas below, and comment with other ways that you use these activity sheets.pig

Get the Closest:

  • Entire class or small group

Who can find a word that will get the closest to $1.00?  $5.00?  Have your students pick the price, or use the Number of the Day!  You can add the old Price is Right rule of not being able to go over

Teacher Tip: Give a time limit!  Students will spend a LONG time trying to find the perfect word if given the opportunity.

Team Challenges:

  • Best with teams of 2-4

Which team can be the first to find a word that costs the price you write on the board?

Or have teams challenge each other by giving each other a target price and seeing which team can reach it first

Math + Vocabulary = Fun:

  • Entire class, small group or individual

See how much your vocabulary words cost!  Make it into a game by having students glance at the “Spelling with Cents” pricing sheet then make a prediction about how much their vocabulary word will cost, then see how close they can get to the exact price.

Backwards Challenge:

  • Entire class or small group

This is a tough game, but my kids loved the extra challenge!  I told them that I was thinking of a color that costs a certain price ($1.43, for example).  Then, it was a race to see who could determine the color (Red!)


If you want to download the “Spelling with Cents” sheet I use, click here and get it for free!  I did try to bump up in the rigor in mine by making the amounts uneven – a quick and easy way to differentiate is to have a few different sheets for different math groups!