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George’s Place

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Students will solve story problems involving money. They will use higher level critical thinking skills to develop their own strategies for solving the problems.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Quarter
  • Half dollar
  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


  • Students will solve story problems involving money.
  • Students will use higher level critical thinking skills to develop their own strategies for solving the problems.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Math


  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts

  • Change
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Decimals


  • Assorted coins (real coins, play money, or paper coins copied from the reproducible coin sheets (pages 29-32))
  • Bags or other containers to hold the money
  • Math manipulatives (optional)
  • “George’s Place Menu” (page 24)
  • “Let’s Eat at George’s!” work page (page 25)
  • Paper and pencil


  • Make copies of the “George’s Place Menu” (page 24).
  • Make copies of the “Let’s Eat at George’s!” work page (page 25).
  • Place similar quantities of money in eight or more bags (or however many groups you’ll want to have).  Bags should have enough money for the students in each group to order meals from “George’s Place.”
  • Organize students into groups.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at

  1. Hand out a copy of “George’s Place Menu” (page 24) and “Let’s Eat at George’s!” (page 25) to each student. Explain to students that they should pretend that they are eating at an American Diner called “George’s Place.” (See if students can figure out the meaning behind the restaurant’s name.) Read the menu together and discuss the meaning behind some of the foods’ names.
  2. Organize students into groups and give each group one bag of money.  Each small group should work together to count their money, determining how much can be spent on dinner. The groups will be “dining” together with only that amount of money, so they will need to work together to ensure that everyone is able to order a meal.
  3. Once students have counted their money and confirmed the amount with the teacher, they may begin ordering their meals. Instruct students to write down what they will be eating and the cost on the top portion of their “Let’s Eat at George’s!” work page (page 25).
  4. Once everyone has decided on what they would like to eat and calculated the cost, the groups will need to add the amounts together to see if they have enough money.  If they do, they can proceed. If they do not, they will need to make adjustments to their orders.
  5. Once students have completed the first activity, have them complete the rest of the work page, solving the story problems using “George’s Place Menu.”
  6. When everyone has finished, ask groups to share what they ordered, the cost, and how much they had left over (if any). Go over some strategies used in solving these money problems. To assess learning, look for both correct answers and strategies that show solid mathematical thinking.


  • Have students create a menu for their own restaurant. Students can trade menus and order from one another’s restaurants.
  • Have students write their own money story problems to challenge other members of the class. Do a follow-up lesson using Pigs Will Be Pigs, by Amy Axelrod. (Axelrod, Amy. Pigs will be Pigs. New York: Four Wind Press, 1994.)

Use the worksheets and class participation to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Discipline: Math
Domain: 2.OA Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Add and subtract within 20

  • 2.OA.2. Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, eg, by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • develop and use strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction;
  • develop fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction; and
  • use a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil, and calculators.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: All Problem Solving
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–2

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: 3-5 Number and Operations
Cluster: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In grades 3–5 all students should

  • develop fluency with basic number combinations for multiplication and division and use these combinations to mentally compute related problems, such as 30 × 50;
  • develop fluency in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers;
  • develop and use strategies to estimate the results of whole-number computations and to judge the reasonableness of such results;
  • develop and use strategies to estimate computations involving fractions and decimals in situations relevant to students' experience;
  • use visual models, benchmarks, and equivalent forms to add and subtract commonly used fractions and decimals; and
  • select appropriate methods and tools for computing with whole numbers from among mental computation, estimation, calculators, and paper and pencil according to the context and nature of the computation and use the selected method or tools.