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Teacher Feature

A Financial Flower Garden

The U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., houses many beautiful flowers, but that doesn't have to be the only flower garden your students are familiar with!  Try this activity to build your own class botanical garden.


Start this activity by introducing your students to the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C.  After reading the April 2002 Coin of the Month article with your class, discuss the fact that, just as the United States has the rose as its national flower, each state has its very own state flower.

Explain that today you will be looking at state flowers.  You can either choose to have your students all examine the flower of their home state, or they can select state names from a hat and independently research the state flower of their selected state.

Once your students have determined their state's flower, have them look in seed catalogs or online (you may want to bookmark appropriate web sites in advance to assist your students' search - remember, many state flowers are wildflowers, and wouldn't be found in all seed catalogs) to find how much it would cost to buy one packet of seeds.  Next, have them determine the number of seeds that are in one packet.

Using this information, have your students use their multiplication skills to find the answers to several mathematical problems.  Have each of your students figure out the cost for three packets of seeds.  How many seeds would be in three packets?  Find out how many packets you would need to buy to get 1,000 seeds.  How much would it cost to buy that many seeds?  Your students can record their results on their State Flower Results page.

Next, have your students make an illustration of their state flower on a 6-by-6-inch piece of thick paper (or oak tag).  Then have your students staple their State Flower Results to their design so the words are facing the back of the design (staple these sheets only at the top of the page, creating a 2—page flip book).  Once you have checked the math on each flip book, display your students' work on a bulletin board called "Financial Flowers."  Onlookers will be able to enjoy the beautiful drawings, and check out your students' math skills at the same time!


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Mathematics Standards

Number and Operations:  Students will deepen their knowledge of whole number computation and will demonstrate their understanding of mathematical operations (multiplication and division) in their problem solving.

Problem Solving:  Students will apply different strategies to solve mathematical problems that are "rooted" in real life scenarios.

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