Plan a Vacation: Fun Math Project on Budgeting Your Money

A Learning by Doing Project

This simple math project shows kids how to budget money so they can plan a family vacation for the future. It teaches budgeting in a practical, personally oriented fashion, with the focus on the family and how it can be helpful if everyone in the family knows how to budget money. This project is great for hands on learners who love learning by doing. Learning by doing is essentially the process of consolidating existing skills by using them in a practical situation – the learning and memory of the task and process becomes stronger and more easily retained in the long term if learning by doing is used rather than simply having students carry out theoretical tasks in the classroom which have little positive application to real life.

Plan your Holiday Destination

  1. Have students choose their ideal holiday destination (use a world globe, atlas, map or Google Earth)
  2. Then ask students to group into small groups to design a budget that will let them plan a trip to that destination for the least amount of money possible (this focuses their attention early in the maths project on the key element of how to budget your money – aim to keep your expenditure low)
  3. Students choose their accommodation, length of stay, food requirements, activities and transport costs
  4. Have them add up their ideal holiday costs for a family of four (or other combinations as you prefer) – you will probably see some budgets blow out at this point!
  5. Now refocus their attention on the key point of the maths project – keep your expenditure low!
  6. Ask them to work in a small group to plan ways of reducing the cost of the holidays they have planned – this is an important component of learning how to budget your money, as it teaches students about the strategies they can use in any situation to reduce their outgoings. And with the sorts of ideal holidays that most young teens have in mind, there is probably going to be quite a bit of ‘trimming’ that can happen with the initial budgets!

Follow Up Skills

  1. Provide each student with a printed card on colored paper with a reminder about the key message from this math project – How to budget your money means reducing the amount of money going out or increasing the amount of money coming in.
  2. This card will serve as a handy reminder for the future which can be used as students begin to plan their own personal budgets and activities such as holidays (or other major purchases).
  3. Discuss alternatives to a ‘grand plan’ holiday such as holidaying close to home, having a visit to a friend’s house or camping rather than staying in expensive accommodation. This will show students the practical side of learning how to budget your money – reducing your expenditure in practical ways. It also reinforces the key math skills used in this project.

This post is part of the series: Maths Lesson Plans for Everyday Living Skills

For maths to remain motivating in upper primary and junior secondary, kids need to see that it has a purpose. This series of maths lesson plans for upper primary and junior secondary covers fun, practical and everyday living activities using key maths skills such as addition and subtraction.
  1. Party Time in Math Class
  2. Planning a Math Vacation
  3. Building Literacy and Math Skills in One Neat Lesson Plan!