Math-ew the Number Train & Holiday Shopping Project

Math-ew the Number Train and the Holiday Shopping Project… what do they have in common? These are the latest two projects Emily and I worked together on to create. Recently during two coaching sessions, teachers asked me to create materials for them to use with their students. One project was sequencing numbers and the other was adding and subtracting decimals. Emily and I loved how the projects turned out so we wanted to share them with all of you to use with your students.

Mathew the Number Train was created to help students sequence numbers within 20. Once we made the first set of box cars with the numbers we decided to create a few more sets of box cars. We included dot images through 12, number word, and ten-frame images. Students can use any set of box cars to sequence numbers, and for an added challenge, have them place the matching number of unifix cubes or counters inside or under each box car. When working with the teen numbers, have them make trains of 10 and ? to represent the number.

Holiday Shopping Project can be differentiated to work with grade levels 2-5. The Holiday Shopping project is a fun way for your students to work on their addition and subtraction with regrouping. The idea of the project is the student gets a budget and uses the holiday shopping magazines to buy for 8 of their family or friends. 

All grade levels: 

  • Using play money will make this project very conceptual for all ages of students. 
  • Give them holiday guides that we are all getting in the mail. 


  • Create a Google Slideshow that has your own store for students to buy from. 


2nd grade: Give them a budget of anywhere from $100-999. Allow students to use play money to buy things. The teacher is the banker. To make this easier, schedule the banking time when another teacher can come in daily at the same time to help you with the banking. Round each item to the nearest whole dollar.

3rd grade: Give your class a budget of $1,000. Allow your students to use play money. The teacher is the banker, unless you have a few students who you think can do the addition and subtraction easily. I would find this easier if you had another teacher to come in daily at the same time to help you with the banking. Round each item to the nearest whole dollar.

4th grade: Give your class a budget of $10,000-$100,000. I plan on having different amounts on paper and folded in a hat for my students to pick out. You can also differentiate the amounts by student ability.  Allow your students to use play money if it is needed. Assign the job of banker to a few of your students to help you out. If you have taught place value in the tenths and hundredths places, keep the prices as they are (without taxes) in the ads. If you have not taught place value with decimals yet, have your students round each item to the nearest whole dollar.

5th grade: Your student budget is $100,000. All items they buy have to have the decimals in the cost as that is a pretty common standard in 5th grade across the country. I would also suggest having students be the bankers. 

Emily plans on introducing the Holiday Shopping Project this week. The idea will be for her students to work on the project for 10 minutes a day with the project being due the day before we leave for winter break. With Emily’s class having stations every Wednesday, the Holiday Shopping Project will be a station every Wednesday, so the sharing of the big box store shopping ads will be easy. 

We are so excited to share these projects with you. Please let us know if you use these downloads and how they went with your students. 

Happy Holidays!

Math-ew the Number Train

Holiday Shopping Project (Color Copy)

Holiday Shopping Project (BW)

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