Multistep with money

Money is a common multistep problem that tends to pop up regularly on NAPLAN. It is also a very easy way to introduce algebra or fractions in a meaningful way. Here’s a problem that I enjoy using with anyone from years 3-9. It is really easy to vary to create complexity. Check out the variations below.

I’m going shopping. I buy a cupcake for \$3, a shirt for \$10 and then at the end of the day I have \$10 left. What did I start with?

Variations:

• What if I had bought cakes for myself and my three friends for \$3 each? What did I start with now? What if the fourth one was free?
• What if I had also bought a skirt for \$20?
• What if I bought a second skirt but it was 50% off?
• What if during the day my sister had paid me back \$10 that she owed me? I still ended the day with \$10.
• What if I had only started the day with \$5? I used a credit card for the rest. What was my credit card balance at the end of the day?
• Now try writing all of that into an equation.
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