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# Fun Money: Learning Finance Through Stories

You'd need to have a stack of pennies 95 miles high, or enough nickels to fill an entire school bus, to have a million dollars. And your million would earn another \$1000 a week just sitting in the bank. Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician helps kids who are "cheerful and willing" to understand the basics of making money, saving it, and earning interest.

Questions for before the story

• What would you do if you made a million dollars?
• What do people need money for? How do we use it?
• What would we do without money?
• Why do people put money in the bank?

Questions for after the story

• What do banks do with your money?
• What is the difference between a bank and a piggy bank?
• How do checks work? Why are they helpful to use?

Activities to do together

• Measure Money. Does a million dollars really equal a stack of pennies 95 miles high, or a whale's weight in quarters? Read aloud the author's notes on the last page of the book. Suggest how to begin with smaller measures, then do the math to prove these facts are true.
• Think of some wild ways to make a million dollars. How do the young entrepreneurs in this book earn money? The illustrations show them feeding fish, peddling pebbles for a penny, dusting ducks, painting pots purple, and fixing fountains. Noticing a pattern here? They go on to mow meadows, transplant trees, hawk huggable hippos, and more... until they have made a million. Challenge your kids to come up with imaginative, tough jobs they'd enjoy. Have them write short job descriptions to display on the refrigerator.
• Set up an account. Set up a bank in the kitchen. Use play money to practice making change. Work as a pair, with your child as the teller and you as the customer. Cash in a "play" check. The teller must try to cash the customer's check using the least amount of bills and coins.

Family Involvement

• Roll em up! Children learn quickly how their change adds up when they put coins in the paper wrappers that banks provide for coin deposits. It's a good idea to have wrappers handy when it comes time to empty piggy banks or family money jar.
• Families order take-out food from time to time. Give children a dollar amount and a menu, then ask them to figure out how to order a meal for the family without going over budget.

Community Connection

• Go to a local bank to learn firsthand about what happens to the money that gets deposited. Back home, create a flow chart that shows where the money goes, from the cash deposit to the cashed check.
• Ask your local bank for penny wrappers. Ask your child to collect and wrap pennies in stacks of 50, measure the stacks, and make up her own Penny Problems. How many cents stack up to the ceiling? How big a stack will buy a school lunch?

• How Much Is A Million? By David M. Schwartz. "If a goldfish bowl were big enough for a million goldfish...it would be large enough to hold a whale." Mathematician David M. Schwartz and illustrator Steven Kellogg have joined forces to give kids a sense of how much a million might look like.
• The Go-Around Dollar by Barbara Johnston Adams. "Have dollar will travel" is the basis for this fictional story that includes factual information about the history of the dollar as well as how a single dollar changes hands.
• How the Second Grade Got \$8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty by Nathan Zimelman. Will these kids get to see the Statue of Liberty or will they fall short by a few dollars? Read the funny tale of one class that tries many creative ways to raise enough money for a class trip.
• Arthur's Funny Money by Lillian Hoban. Good old, lovable Arthur and his little sister Violet are up to it again. Arthur learns a few lessons about owning a business when he tries to raise money to pay for the t-shirt and matching cap he wants to buy.

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