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How to Make Personal Finance Standards Fun & Kid Friendly

Math, Money & Time, Social Studies

Written by: Katie Palmer

Have you ever looked through your social studies personal finance standards and thought, “Blek! How can I get these kids engaged in learning about economics?!)

We've all been there! But, our team has a solution! Unit 4 of our Lucky to Learn Math curriculum has several economics standards woven in! Let's take a look through this engaging Math Unit to see how easy it can be to integrate these social studies standards into Math!

What Personal Finance standards does your state have?

Before we dive into the Lucky to Learn math personal finance lessons, first we need to ask, does your state has these standards? Personal finance standards are most often found in the Social Studies-Economics or Mathematics area. The website below allows you to click on your individual state to find the standards in the economics or finance areas!

Education World-Standards for Each State

In my state of Minnesota, for example, the 2nd grade finance standards read like this:

  • Identify money as any generally accepted item used in making exchanges.
  • Individuals, businesses and governments interact and exchange goods, services and resources in different ways and for different reasons.
  • Personal and financial goals can be achieved by applying economic concepts and principle to personal financial planning, budgeting, spending, saving, investing, borrowing and insuring decisions.

The bolded words are some of the key words to look for when searching the standards. Key finance terms are slid into unit 4 of Lucky to Learn Math:

  • Needs
  • Wants
  • Goods
  • Services
  • Producers
  • Consumers
  • Saving
  • Spending
  • Deposits
  • Withdrawals

Incorporate Social Studies & Math

How can we incorporate personal finance into our Math lessons while still having engaged students? Team Lucky Little Learners has worked tirelessly to bring you Lucky to Learn Math. Based on teacher feedback, this curriculum is easy to use, meaningful, engaging and successful! Each Lucky to Learn Math lesson is only one page and is broken up in easy to plan & teach chunks!

Let's take a look at how the personal finance standards fit into this fun and easy to teach model. We will be digging into lesson 4.16: Grocery Shopping, which focuses on the key words needs and wants. Although each math lesson has seven components, we will be focusing on five of the parts: Warm Up, Mini Lesson, Hands-On Collaboration, Independent Work, Check for Understanding and the Differentiation options.

Movement Warm Up

This Mini Lesson has students up and moving in a would you rather scenario. The students will have to think to themselves, “Would I save or spend my money if this happened to me?”

Not only does this give students a quick brain break, but also causes them to think about needs vs. wants AND saving vs. spending. This will relate these finance terms to their real life. While using the teaching slides (which can be used alongside the entire lesson!), you may also want to discuss how needs are different for each person/family. For example, depending on where people live, a winter hat is a need for some kids, a want for others.

Mini Lesson

After the teacher introduces the needs and wants vocabulary charts, students will draw and color a personal need and want they have. This again ties in those finance standards while engaging students! After students have completed their drawings, you will create a class needs vs. wants chart to discuss the difference.

Hands-On Collaboration

Every Lucky to Learn Math lesson includes a collaborative activity. Research has shown the right student pairing increases engagement AND learning. In this particular lesson, students will be walk the room finding task cards. These cards show images of things such as water, a necklace and so on. They will record if each item is a need or a want. This again enforces the finance terms and hits those standards while the kids are having fun!

Independent Work

Independent work is a great way to assess student understanding. For this lesson, students will have $10 to buy items from their Needs and Wants Grocery List.

This independent activity once again reaffirms the personal finance vocabulary and also offers addition and subtraction practice.

Check for Understanding

Each lesson in the curriculum also offers a more formal assessment. Think of them as an exit ticket. Giving students this quick check for understanding can guide the next day's whole or small group lesson based on student needs. These quick checks can also determine who needs an intervention vs. students who need the challenge of an extension. Bonus: it is short & quick!

Differentiation Options

Every Lucky to Learn Math lesson includes an intervention and extension opportunity! Here's a quick peek at the activities offered in this lesson.


In this cut & paste activity, the teacher will guide students as they review needs vs wants. (This would also work well for students who are needing more independent practice or an early finisher activity.)

Bonus ideas: use this for a social studies lesson or send it home to create a needs vs wants discussion.


For the students up for a challenge, they will fold a piece of paper to create their own needs vs wants chart. Pass out copies of a grocery ad and have them cut out and glue items into the correct column.

Want Another Look?

If you want to see these personal finance lessons, or all of Lucky to Learn Math Unit 4, check out our team's facebook live video or head right to the resource.

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Happy teaching!


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Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.