PBL Project – “Make a Carnival!” Project to Teach Money and Change

I always love incorporating a PBL project whenever possible in my 2nd grade classroom! Some of my students were having difficulty understanding the concept of money and change (CCSS 2.MD.C.8) so I thought why not connect it to real life and have them create a mini-carnival in the classroom!

The driving question for my PBL project was:
Create an engaging carnival game that persuades other people to spend money at your game.

Students were then split into two large groups: Game Creators and Game Players

  • Game Creators Responsibilities
    • Design the game and determine how much money the game cost
    • Determine how many tickets the Game Player would win
    • Create the rules of the game and put the materials together to make the game
    • Make sure Game Players were giving them the correct amount of money
    • Make sure they gave Game Players the correct amount of change
  • Game Players Responsibilities
    • Give the correct amount of money to Game Creators whenever playing the game
    • Make sure they were getting the correct amount of change from the Game Players
    • Earn tickets by playing games successfully

Depending on how much money Game Creators made and how many tickets Game Players received, then they were able to get prizes. For my prizes, I printed out drawings of their favorite characters.

Students had so much fun playing the games that their classmates had created! It was also interesting to see the conversations that students had whenever they spent money on a game or whenever they received change back. Students also had fun earning prizes!

Which change in practice did you implement?
Implementing the PBL project with my students was an enjoyable process. I feel it definitely made learning the standard 2.MD.C.8 more practical and easier to understand for my students. Some of my students initially had difficulty understanding the concept of change and leftover money, but participating in the carnival game helped them understand why change occurs. They were able to go to different carnival games, spend money, and receive change. Also the students who were in charge of carnival games learned the importance of giving accurate change back to the game players or else it could create conflicts if they gave incorrect money.

What were my results?
I saw an improvement on their math assessments and their understanding of standard 2.MD.C.8. For my students who were scoring Basic, it helped push some of them up to Proficient. However, I did have a handful of students who were still confused about how to give the correct amount of change.

What are my next steps?
In small groups, I will continue following up with students who are having trouble counting the correct amount of change and have them continue working with manipulatives to improve their counting skills.

What did I learn?
A challenge with the PBL project was managing all the materials involved to implement the carnival. For example, it required a significant amount of manipulatives to make the games. We also needed enough fake money and tickets. Some kids had trouble managing their money and tickets so I had to make adjustments as kids continued playing the carnival. Overall though, the carnival was a success and the students enjoyed spending money and getting tickets so they could eventually buy prizes.


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