Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

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ESL Money Games
By:Shelley Frost

Money games for ESL students teach counting skills and the basic concepts of money. Using games to improve money skills keeps the students engaged and actively learning about the various units of currency. You can find inexpensive play money at dollar stores to give students a hands-on approach to learning.

Betting Game
The students each get a set amount of play money. You can use the same denomination or give out bills in different amounts. The students walk around the room betting each other they can't do something. For example, a student might say, "I bet you can't count by 10s" or "I bet you can't jump on one foot." If the student completes the task, the challenger pays him a dollar. If he doesn't complete the task, he must pay a dollar to the challenger. If you use different denominations, the kids can state how much they are betting each time. Let the kids continue playing for a set amount of time, encouraging them to interact with different students each time. At the end of the game, each child counts his money to determine who has the most left.

Money Word Problems
Divide the students into small groups, giving each a pile of play money. Include both dollar bills and coins for more of a challenge. Give the class a story problem that involves money. For example, you might say, "Suzy had $10. She bought a toy for $6.55. How much money does she have left?" The difficulty of the questions depends on the ability level of your ESL students. They use the play money to calculate the answer to the question. The first team to answer correctly earns a point.

Counting Coins

Place the same number of play coins in baggies, creating one for each student. Even though the number of coins is the same, you'll want to put different types of coins in each bag, so they total different dollar amounts. Each student sorts his coins into piles based on coin type. He must then count the number of each coin and calculate the worth of his coins. Each student takes a turn stating the number of each coin he has. Encourage the students to call the coins by their names to reinforce the labels. The student with the highest dollar amount wins the game.

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