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Financial Literacy for Years 3-4

Learning Module


This learning module addresses the use of money for years 3-4 (7-9 years of age). It builds the concepts of earning, saving and spending money. It also develops an understanding of the value of Australian notes and coins. Students work in groups and are taught to value group members' contributions to achieving a group goal.


Saving, Spending, Financial Literacy, Money, Budget, Goals

Knowledge Objectives

Every Chance to learn: ACT Curriculum Framework

As a result of completing this learning module, students will be able to:


ELA24 : The student makes informed choices about money and finance.

24EC2 : Use bartering and money as a way of exchanging goods and services.

ELA 5 : The student contributes to group effectiveness.

5EC4 : Listen actively when working in groups.


ELA24 : The student makes informed choices about money and finance.

24EC1 : Forms of money

24EC4: Differences between needs and wants

24EC7 : Recognises Australian coins and notes

ELA 12 : The student takes action to promote health

12 EC 4 : Food choices for good health.

ELA16 : The student understands and applies number.

16EC10 : counts collections fluently by ones, twos, fives and tens.


ELA24 : The student makes informed choices about money and finance.

24EC3: The meaning of prices.

24EC5: The concepts of spending and saving money.

24EC8: Using money to buy basic goods and services.

24EC9: Compare prices of similar items.

24EC10: Order spending preferences.

ELA5 : The student contributes to group effectiveness

5EC3: Make decisions in small groups to achieve common goals.

5EC5: Show care for and encourage other members of a group or team.

5EC8: Talk about their role in completing a task.

ELA 16 : The student understands and applies number

16EC7: Create, interpret and solve practical problems involving whole numbers.

16EC15: Explore numbers and calculations using calculators.


ELA24 : The student makes informed choices about money and finance.

24EC2: Barter and money as ways of exchanging goods and services.

24EC3: The meaning of prices.

24EC4: Differences between needs and wants.

24EC5: The concepts of spending and saving money.

24EC8: Using money to buy basic goods and services.

24EC9: Compare prices of similar items.

ELA1 : The student uses a range of strategies to think and learn

1EC4: Talk about their thinking and how it has changed.

1EC7: Practise their learning.

ELA 16 : The student understands and applies number

16EC15: Explore numbers and calculations using calculators.

16EC4: Operations of addition and subtraction with two-digit numbers and strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems, including counting, using concrete materials, and breaking apart and combining numbers.

1. What do We Know about Money?

For the Student

  • Walk around the room with the music.
  • When the music stops, go to a partner, give them a high-five, say hello. "Name" and take turns to tell your partner one thing you know about money.
  • When the music starts move around until the music stops and find another partner to speak to.
  • In pairs take turns to say your ideas about where we use money in our world.
  • Share what you found out.
Fig. 1: Australian $1 Coin

For the Teacher

Gathering Prior Knowledge

The learning intention is to use co-operative strategies to find out what the children know about money.

  • Use a mix, pair, share to answer the question - What do you know about money?
  • Keep doing this for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Create a concept map with ideas such as - money can buy things, money is gold and silver, my dad bought a paintbrush with his money.
  • Display the concept map and add ideas to it throughout the unit.

The learning intention is to identify what the students know about where money is in our society.

  1. Rally Robin to gather ideas.
  2. Record ideas on a new concept map to display in the classroom.
  3. Add any new ideas throughout the unit of work.

1. Graves, Nan and Ted (1990). A Part To Play. Vic., Australia: Latitude Publications.

2. Kagan L. and Kagan Dr S.(2007), Structures for Cooperative Learning and Active Engagement. Vic, Australia: Hawker Brownlow Education,

3. ITC (2009). Innovative Teachers’ Companion. Sydney: ITC

Here are a 'list of references' used for the unit.

2. How is Money Used in Our World?

For the Student

Let's view the website.

Reflect and discuss the things you noticed by viewing the website.

Is there any information we can add to our money chart?

For the Teacher

Money in Society

The learning intention is to expose students to the many ways money is used.

NB: This is an American website, so some things such as pennies and dollar bills do not apply. This will need explaining.

  • Reflect and discuss ideas. Students may discuss the concepts of earning, spending and saving. They may also discuss why we have money, banking and record keeping.
  • Add new ideas to the chart from previous activity.

3. Discussing How Money is Used in Our World

For the Student

What other ways do we use money that you didn't think of before?

When is money used in society?

You will be in small groups and given 5 talking chips. Each time you speak you place one chip in the center of the groups. When someone is holding the chip no one else can speak. When you have used all your talking-chips you cannot speak.

For the Teacher

Money in Society

The learning intention is to use co-operative strategies to find out the many ways money is used.

  • Use talking chips to discuss the question - When do we use money in society? (pg. 122, Graves, Nan and Ted (1990) A Part to Play. Vic. Australia: Latitude Publications. )
  • Students should come up with things such as to spend, save, earn, exchange, etc.

4. How do We Get Money to Spend?

For the Student

Listen to guest speaker to find out how we get money to spend.

Huddle together in pairs and share what you have found out about earning money. I will ask one person from each group to quickly say one idea about how money is earned. This is called a 'whip'.

For the Teacher

How do people earn money?

The learning intention is to recognise that people in society perform jobs to earn money.

  • Guest speaker - Invite a guest speaker to talk to the classes about how money is earned. The speaker to focus on earning money from paid work (eg. teacher, public servant), gifts (eg. birthdays), loans (eg. from banks).
  • OR read 'The Money Tree' book.
  • Use 'whip' (p.48 'A Part to Play) to reflect and discuss what students found out from the guest speaker.

5. How do We Get Money to Spend?

For the Student

Remember three ways to get money and record them in your book.

Let's share ideas by using a 'whip' around. Each child quickly shares an idea. Each idea can only be shared once. You may add other ideas to you book if you like.

Create a money tree. Write one job on each leaf.

For the Teacher

How do people earn money?

  • Use 'whip' (p.48 'A Part to Play) to discuss ways in which you can get money.
  • Money tree display - The trunk will state the question "How do we earn money?" The money leaves will state ways people can earn money.

6. How Your Family Earns Money

For the Student

Take home an 'interview sheet' and ask your family the following questions.

  1. Do you work?
  2. What work do you do?
  3. What things do you do in your work?
  4. Did it need training?
  5. How long do you work in a day/week?
  6. Do you earn money for the work that you do?
  7. What other ways could you earn money?

Share with the class what your results are. Add any new ideas to the money tree.

For the Teacher

Earning money

The learning intention is to gather information from families about how people earn and save money.

  • Family Interviews - For homework, students interview their family to find out how people can earn money in society. NB: Being a parent is an unpaid job.
  • Use 'Circle Time' to present findings. (Sian Burt, Graham Davies, Jane Lister, Rhian Morgan and Susie O'Shea (2006), Six Years of Circle Time, London, Paul Chapman Publishing)
  • Add ideas to the money tree.
  • Are there any other ways to earn money?
  • Introduce the concepts of wages as opposed to voluntary work.

7. What could You do if You didn't Earn Money

For the Student

During circle time, answer the question - What could you do if you couldn't earn money?

Students offer suggestions.

Students complete a T-chart. They need to fill in the positives and negatives about earning money.

For the Teacher

Surviving without money

The learning intention is to suggest ideas about what students could do if they didn't earn money.

  • During previous circle time discussion, pose the question - What could you do if you couldn't earn money?
  • They may suggest ideas such as live with mum and dad, get money from the government or charity organisations, live a simple life.
  • Use a T-chart of the positive and negatives of earning money. They may suggest things like you can buy things when you earn money, you have less free time when you work, etc.

8. How can We Earn Money at School?

For the Student

Check in - Look at the money tree and see how adults earn money.

Swap positions with someone whose parents earn money working in the day/night/in hospitals/in schools/in big offices/in little offices/as electricians or plumbers or carpenters/on computers etc

Form new groups of 2. Go back to desks, discuss and write down as many ideas as you can in 4 minutes about how you could earn money at school.

Come back to circle and share.

Swap positions with other students is you think you would be allowed to clean the floor/sharpen group pencils/clean the yard at any time of the day?

What restrictions need to be discussed?

Check out - What jobs do you think you could do to earn money at school?

For the Teacher

Earning money in the school.

The learning intention is to determine the jobs students can do to earn money and to determine how much money students will earn.

  • Circle time discussion about earning money at school.
  • Discuss when, where, why, how jobs are done.
  • Write jobs on SB or whiteboard.
  • Set quidelines for job completion e.g. must get approval before beginning tasks, must negotiate with the teacher about the necessity of the job and how much it will earn.
  • Talk about salaries in the real world and how the employer sets the salary. In this case the teacher is the employer.
  • Share a spreadsheet outlining how much each job earns.

Read 'The Dollar Special'

(Edwards P. (1995) The Dollar Special. Australia. Longman Cheshire)

9. Let's Learn about Notes and Coins

For the Student

Let's use a jigsaw to become experts on a coin or note.

Students form home groups.

Each member of the home group will form new groups in which you will be given a particular note or coin to learn about.

Complete the table of features about your currency.

You will then need to go back to your home group and teach them what you have learnt.

As each person in your home group presents their currency, complete the table of features.

Let's draw/rub/colour the notes and coins.

Play money game.

Table of Features

Drawing Colour Worth Pictures

For the Teacher

Recognising Australian money

The learning intention is to identify Australian currency.

NB: These activities will be completed in the maths sessions.

  • Use a jigsaw to familiarise students with notes and coins.
  • Show a variety of Australian currency.
  • Discuss that currency means coins and notes.
  • Classify and sort money by shape, pictures, size, colour and value.
  • name the coins and notes.
  • After each coin/note is presented group members colour the note correctly from a photocopy/do a rubbing/draw the coin or note. Complete in maths books.
  • Play ‘Hidden Money’ where students take choose a coin and others guess using yes or no questions.

10. How Much Money do I have?

For the Student

Order coins from smallest to largest value.

Place money in centre. Which one would be best to spend at the canteen? Why? What could you buy with it?

Lets look at 5c pieces and the best way to count them. Repeat with 10c.

Lets put the coins on a number line.

Let's play money games and shops.

Solve word problems using money.

Practise counting and combining money. Record answers.

Fast Finishers – Roll, Count, Buy.

For the Teacher

Recognising the value of money and combining amounts.

The learning intention is to understand the value of money and groups of money.

  • Introduce the value of notes and coins by relating to their world - canteen. Use canteen menu and students knowledge about items to buy.
  • Introduce strategies to count money.
  • Play money games and shops. Provide priced items and have students count out enough money to buy them.
  • Make 4 groups of $1 using 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c.Solve word problems – eg. what would make me the most money – 10c a day for 30 days or 90c every 10 days for 30 days. Or if I earned 20c a day, how many days will it take to buy a CD for $11.20.
  • Provide containers with money in to total. Find out how much is in each container and order.
  • Fast Finishers – Roll, Count, Buy.Vincent J.(2004). Maths Tracks. Vic. Australia. Reed International Books.)

11. How to People Keep a Record of Their Money

For the Student

Listen to the story, "Rock Brock and the Savings Shock".

What did the book make you think about? Share this with a partner and then a small group.

For the Teacher

Accounting Strategies

The learning intention is to show students examples of accounting.

  • Read "Rock Brock and the Savings Shock" (Bair, Sheila (2006) Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock. Illinois: Albert Whitman and Co.)
  • Use a think, pair, share to read and respond.

12. How do People Keep a Record of Their Money?

For the Student

In groups, have a look at how different people record the money they earn and use. Look at each method and pass it on to the next group. How are they the same and different? Use highlighters to colour the things that are the same in each record.

Are there words you don't understand?


For the Teacher

Accounting Strategies

The learning intention is to expose students examples of accounting strategies.

  • Show students examples of account keeping.
  • Briefly explain the language used in accounts, such as 'ledgers', earnings and savings.

13. Looking at Parts of the Ledger

For the Student

Let's look at ways people keep a record of their savings.

Take a look at each part of the ledgers. What would go in each column? Why would the total column be useful?


For the Teacher

Analysing ledgers

The learning intention is to analyse the function of each part of the ledger.

  • Use to view ledgers.
  • The teacher may design some simple ledgers with the headings of date, opening balance, credit, debit, loans, closing balance and total. In groups students analyse the function of each part of the ledger.
  • 'Examples of ledgers are attached.'

14. Recording Our Money

For the Student

Use your individual ledger to record the money you earn each day, the gifts you receive, the money spent on temptations, and any loans you receive.

Use your group ledger to record the final earning for the group for the day. Are you on track to achieve your goal?

At the end of the week use a calculator to add up how much money you have and how much your group has.

Reflect on how successful you were at earning and recording. Do you need to set a goal for next week?


For the Teacher

Using a ledger to record earnings

The learning intention is to use a ledger to record earnings.

  • Provide students with an individual and group ledger to record their money.
  • Put group ledger on display in the classroom.
  • Students keep individual ledgers in books.
  • This activity will be completed for 10 minutes every day when the students start earning money.
  • At this time they will also exchange smaller denominations for larger denominations.
  • Have students reflect.

15. How can We Spend Our Money?

For the Student

We are going to come up with ideas about how we can use our money.

'Make a decision' about how to spend the money and how it will be organised.


We will be saving our money and then spending it when we have enough.

For the Teacher

Making decisions about how to use money earned.

The learning intention is to decide on how to use the money teams have earned.

  • Use inner, outer circles to brainstorm ideas about how to spend their money.
  • Share ideas and list on the SB.
  • Teacher to guide discussion about the merits of having a class party to spend their money.
  • Use a T-chart to record ideas about the positives and negatives of having a class party.
  • The class is persuaded to combine funds and buy food for a group party.
  • Discuss the value of saving money before you spend it.

16. What Foods do You Need to be Healthy?

For the Student

We are going to create a collage of foods and sort them into healthy foods (that we need)and unhealthy foods (that we want).

As you cut out a food glue it on to the section that you think the food belongs to.

For the Teacher

Foods that we need and food that we want.

The learning intention is to identify healthy and unhealthy foods for the party (needs vs wants)

  • Provide magazines, junk mail etc for students to cut out a variety of foods.
  • Show healthy eating guidelines and briefly discuss foods in each category.
  • Sort into healthy vs unhealthy foods. (Foods we need vs food we want)
  • Make a class poster with healthy foods/unhealthy foods.

17. Planning the Party Food.

For the Student

Use the talking stick to tell your team which food types - healthy or unheathy - you would like for the party and why they are the best choice. Take 1 minute then pass the stick on to your left.

Vote on the style of party your group would prefer - healthy/unhealthy/mix of both

Look at the catalogue and cut out the party food you would like.

Order the food according to which foods you would like most to least.

List foods you would like in your books and provide reasons for your choices.

1 student per team(spokesperson) will stay at the home table while the rest of team move to next group. The spokesperson tells the other groups about the ideas. The other group provides feedback and this is listed using a different coloured texta. Rotations continue. When original group members return they share their ideas.

Now you might change your food choices if the group decides to.

Write your menu up on A4 paper.

For the Teacher

Plan the party food.

The learning intention is to make a list of party food and justify their choices.

  • Groups decide on the theme of their party - healthy/unhealthy/mix.
  • Provide catalogues for food selections with prices attached.
  • Students prioritise the chosen party food and justify their choices.
  • Discuss value for money items.
  • Do a 'Cafe Tour'.
  • Display menus with the stars from the next activity.

18. How Much will It Cost?

For the Student

Circle the foods your group would like to buy for the party.

On the sheet list the food and the price.

Add up the prices.

How much will your group spend for the party?

For the Teacher

Planning a budget

The learning intention is to plan a budget to buy the foods for the party.

  • Provide catalogues for students to cut out party food choices with prices attached.
  • Students use calculators or addition strategies to determine how much money will be required.
  • Students reflect on whether the amount of money is achievable.
  • Adjust lists accordingly.
  • Share with class.

19. Setting Goals to Raise Money

For the Student

How much money does your group need to earn?

How much does each individual need to raise?

How long do you have to raise the money?

Write ideas in your book.

For the Teacher

Setting a goal

The learning intention is to make decisions about what individuals can do to help achieve the group goal.

  • Share how much money each group needs to buy their goods.
  • Determine individual goals.
  • Recap ways student can earn money from "Earning money in the school"(Activity 8).
  • How will a group achieve their goal most effectively? eg. including others, working hard, working together.
  • Students respond by writing in their books.

20. How to Achieve Our Goal Successfully

For the Student

Use 'Freeze Frames' to demonstrate positive and negative group work.

In your own group decide what the individuals will do to help your group.

For the Teacher

Behaviours that will help achieve goals

The learning intention is to investigate the behaviours that will help or hinder the groups achieving their goal.

  • Choose groups to create freeze frames about positive and negative group work. Each group focuses on one of the ideas, such as theft, disagreements, honesty, encouraging others, responsibility, tolerance and temptations. They display a positive and negative scenario.
  • Discuss the behaviours and decisions demonstrated. Which behaviours will help you achieve your goal?
  • Photograph the 'Freeze Frames' and label. Display in class.
  • NB: These ideas may need to be revisited throughout the unit. Teacher can adapt these role plays according to the needs of the class.
  • T-charts are worthwhile developing with students to unpack the ideas presented in the role plays so that the behaviours are more explicit.

21. How Much Money will I End up with?

For the Student

You will be given the chance to buy items throughout the coming weeks. You will need to decide whether to accept them or reject them. Will group benefit if you purchase this?

To help you decide whether to accept the offer you may need to complete a PCQ sheet. This will list the positives for accepting, the negatives and the questions you will need to consider.

You will also be given the opportunity to borrow money at the end of the unit for your party food. This will need to be repaid with interest after the party is over.

For the Teacher

Introducing temptations, gifts and loans.

The learning intention is to expose students to the concepts of temptations, gifts and loans.

Read 'A Present For Mother's Day'.

  • At appropriate times throughout the unit, teachers present groups with temptations such as a bag of jelly beans for 50c/ gifts of money from other students and teachers/ loans of money.
  • Briefly discuss the pros and cons of accepting them.
  • A PCQ (Pros/Cons/Questions) sheet may assist students with decision making.

22. Party Time!

For the Student

Review your party food choices and check whether you have enough money to buy them. What can you do to make sure you can afford the foods you want? What could you miss out on? How can you obtain the money? (loans) Is there a compromise? (home brand vs name brand)

Go to the shops and buy your party food. Make you have enough money for your food before you go to the checkout. Use a calculator to check that you have enough money. Check with a teacher or parent helper before going to the checkout.

Go to the park and celebrate. Take a gallery tour to look at what other groups have bought. Reflect.

Enjoy your party!

For the Teacher

The party

The learning intention is to use money in society

  • Students go to a supermarket and use their shopping list and the knowledge of their budget to purchase their food choices. Students may need to consider cheaper options.
  • Students go to the park to have their party.
  • Excursions - go to the shops and buy food choices using money earned.
  • Table group party - groups share the food that they have purchased. Take photos of each groups with their food to be used in class discussions.

23. Was the Party Successful?

For the Student

Answer the following questions

  • Was the party successful?
  • Did you enjoy the party?
  • Did you have enough money?
  • What things could you change to have more money?
  • Would you change anything about the party? What? Why?
  • How well did your group work towards the party? (1,2,3,4,5)
  • Did you enjoy the experience of earning, saving and spending money?

Write on 2 stars (explaining what went well) and 1 wish (what you could do better next time) to explain your ideas about the party.


For the Teacher

Analysing the party

The learning intention is to evaluate the party

  • Evaluate the unit.
  • Answer a 'questionnaire'.
  • Display stars and wishes on a board.

24. What would You Buy if You could do this Again?

For the Student

Use "Inner and Outer Circles" to share ideas.

Once you have decided on an idea, complete the placemat.

You may draw pictures to explain the ideas or write about your thoughts.

For the Teacher

Choosing how to spend money

The learning intention is to creatively design a new strategy and goal to use money.

  • Pose the question - If you had the same project again, what would you save money for?
  • Students discuss ideas.
  • Share ideas.

25. Acknowledgements

Title: (Source); Fig. 1: (Source).

The original version of this learning module was created by Gina Turton and Catherine Donelly.