based on Lunch Money
by Andrew Clements
View and print the student activity sheet (PDF)
About the Book
Greg Keaton is a sixth- grader, and a money maker. That’s the way someone could describe him. Although making money always has been on his mind, so that should probably be first on the list. Greg loves making money and saving it. He does everything from walking animals to raking leaves to selling lemonade to making his brothers’ beds, anything to make money. His goal was to save enough money so that he could buy anything he wanted. Maura Shaw was Greg’s biggest competitor. Living directly across the street, she would watch Greg and whatever it was, she would do the same thing only bigger and better. One summer he sold lemonade, and she sold hers cheaper, taking half of Greg’s customers. So when Greg decided to begin selling his comic books at school, Maura had to get in with her own version. Maura started producing and selling her own comic books and this made Greg furious. In the end, they both learn valuable lessons about team work, standing up for what you believe in and doing what is right.
Set the Stage
Allow children to look at the cover and discuss the following:
- Looking at the picture on the cover, what does it remind you of?
- Because the picture is designed like money and the title is about money, make a prediction of what the book will be about.
- What does the boy’s expression on the cover tell you about the tone of the book? Do you think it is scary, funny, or serious?
- Notice the comic book in the middle of the cover. What do you think that has to do with the story?
After the students have read the book, lead a discussion with the following questions:
- What lessons did Greg learn at the end of the book?
- What lessons did Maura learn at the end of the book?
- Why do you think Greg and Maura were so competitive?
- How are Mr. Z and Greg alike?
- Why do you think Mr. Z helped the children knowing that Mrs. Davenport would not approve?
- Do you think Mrs. Davenport had good reasons why the Greg and Maura shouldn’t sell their comics at school? Why or why not?
In this activity find answers to money-related questions using real coins.
To extend students’ enjoyment of the book, try these:
- History of Money: Greg loved money. He made it, studied it, saved it and spent it only on special things. Gather reference materials on money and have the class study it. There are many good websites and links on the subject of money. A good place to start is www.ustreas.gov. From that particular site you can get to a kids link that will allow the students much information on our U.S. currency and its history. Allow the students to report what they learned on a poster, pamphlet or three dimensional media. They can work in groups or individually. Display their products in the classroom.
- Show Me the Money!: Have students formulate a new coin or currency. Let them design and make a model of their new coin. Have them include why they chose the design they did.
- Storytelling thru Comics: Allow your students to make their own comics. They can use a story they already know and add to the ending or make up one of their own. Make sure you set parameters as to content of the illustrations and plots. Discuss these so that your boundaries are clear.
- What’s Your Point?: Greg and Maura did not like the idea that they could not sell their product at school. They had to go before the School Committee and make their case. Brainstorm with your class something that they would like to see changed at school. Or choose a topic for them such as wearing required uniforms to school everyday. Divide the class into two groups and let them produce a presentation showing both sides of the issue. Invite other adults such as the principal, team leader, guidance counselor or dean in your room to see the presentations.
- Classroom Store: Set up a class store with items students might need such as pencils, erasers, notebook paper and other small items. (You can ask parents for donations to help with the cost). Have a system in place where the students can earn points or tokens by doing jobs around the classroom, helping other students, completing and turning in homework, etc. When a student needs a pencil, he or she would turn in the correct amount of tokens to “buy” what he needs. This can be student oriented so they make all the decisions about how much an item should “cost” and how it should be managed. The lesson would not be on money made, but more on saving enough from what you earned to “buy” what you need. Make sure you include the words “earning”, “budgeting”, and “saving” as part of the vocabulary.
- ‘Real World’ Money: Invite an employee of a local bank or credit union to school to show children what happens to their money when they make a deposit. Many financial institutions have educational programs that teach children lessons about saving and earning money. You may even be able to arrange a field trip to visit the bank so that the students can see what a bank looks like and how it operates.
Lesson Developed by Kelley Raybon
Kelley Raybon has been teaching elementary school for 20 years. She is currently a curriculum resource teacher at an elementary school. She earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
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