Money-making Mice

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This is a level 2 number and statistics and level 3 algebra activity from the Figure It Out series. It relates to Stage 5 of the Number Framework.
A PDF of the student activity is included.

Achievement Objectives
NA2-1: Use simple additive strategies with whole numbers and fractions.
NA3-6: Record and interpret additive and simple multiplicative strategies, using words, diagrams, and symbols, with an understanding of equality.
S2-3: Investigate simple situations that involve elements of chance, recognising equal and different likelihoods and acknowledging uncertainty.
Student Activity


Click on the image to enlarge it. Click again to close. Download PDF (2710 KB)

Specific Learning Outcomes

calculate a bank balance using addition and subtraction

Description of Mathematics

Number Framework Links
Students at stages 2–3 and some at stage 4 would need a buddy or teacher support to keep the accounting in their cash books accurate. These students may benefit from access to a calculator, an abacus, a hundreds board, or paper money.

Required Resource Materials
Cashbook record sheet (see Copymaster)

FIO, Levels 2-3, Financial Literacy: The Real Cost of Pets, Money-making Mice, pages 16-17

2-4 players, a counter each

1 dice


Financial understanding
Playing this game will help students to understand that there are many costs associated with running a business and that it’s important for people in business to manage their money well to cover these expenses. Playing the game will also show students that the financial decisions that people make determine how “well off” they are now and in the future.
The students need to monitor and evaluate their cash-book records, especially at the end of the game when they reflect on the consequences of some of the “decisions” they had to make during the game.
Before they start playing, make sure that the students understand what a bank balance is and that they are able to count in tens.
The game needs to be played with the winner being the first person to reach exactly $200 because this makes their decisions about the cheese segments crucial.
Use of the cash-book record sheet in this game is a way to teach students the beginnings of accounting and money management. This skill is required in the other Figure It Out Financial Literacy books.
After the game
Encourage the students to discuss why they chose the cheese segments they did at various stages of the game and to comment on the strategic decisions they employed.
As a class or in groups, the students could evaluate the Money-making Mice game in terms of fairness, chance of winning, how the game would change if the numbers on the dice were altered, and whether there are the same amounts of positive and negative squares. Ask: Does the number of players change the enjoyment factor of the game?
How could you alter the game to make it quicker to finish or harder to complete? What else could you put in the cheese segment?
After a class discussion, encourage the students to discuss the reflective questions that follow the game with their families.

Social Sciences Links
Achievement objectives:
• Understand how people make choices to meet their needs and wants (Social Studies, level 2)
• Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources (Social Studies, level 3)
The students could discuss as a class: What needs and wants do we have for our room? How do we decide who gets to use our resources, for example, the computers or mathematics equipment?
The students could research the needs of children within the school and design a game to meet their particular needs, for example, in the junior school or in the ESOL and second-language learning environment.

Other Cross-curricular Links
English achievement objective:
• Purposes and audiences: Show a developing understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences (Speaking, Writing, and Presenting, level 3)
The students could make different rules for an existing board game.
Technology achievement objective:
• Brief development: Describe the nature of an intended outcome, explaining how it addresses the need or opportunity. Describe the key attributes that enable development and evaluation of an outcome (Technological Practice, level 3)
The students could design and make another risks and rewards board game, taking into account the robustness of materials, clarity of instructions, and visual attractiveness.
Science achievement objective:
• Ecology: Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat (Living World, level 2)
The students could discuss what a “pet” is and whether animals like mice should be kept in cages in  homes or pet shops (or other animals in bigger cages at zoos).
Health and Physical Education achievement objective:
• Safety management: Identify risks and their causes and describe safe practices to manage these (Personal Health and Physical Development, level 3)
The students could discuss: Is it healthy to keep mice as pets? Most people consider wild mice as pests and “unclean”, so why do people keep mice in cages as pets?

Answers to Activity

A game based on recording transactions to manage the risk of having enough to spend on our needs.
Reflective questions
Answers will vary. For example, people who put money aside “for a rainy day” (that is, in case something unplanned and expensive happens) usually like the reassurance of having that money saved and the protection it gives to their lifestyle.
If financial disaster strikes, people’s standard of living can change drastically, they may need to borrow money that they cannot afford to pay back, or they may even lose their house or possessions if they cannot afford to pay the mortgage/monthly

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Level Two
Level Three