Nanuet Union Free School District
101 Church Street
Nanuet, New York  10954


Area of Study:  Mathematics

Grade Level/Course:  Grade 5
Managing Your Checkbook

developed by:  Debbie Karlitz and Andrea Moscato

Nanuet Learner Standard(s): 

Resourceful Reasoner


New York State Learning Standard(s):  

MST Standard 3: Mathematics  (Elementary Level)

Students will understand mathematics and become mathematically confident by communicating and reasoning mathematically, by applying mathematics in real-world settings, and by solving problems through the integrated study of number systems, geometry, algebra, data analysis, probability, and trigonometry.

Key Idea 2:  Numbers and Numeration:  Students use number sense and numeration to develop an understanding of the multiple uses of numbers in the real world, the use of numbers to communicate mathematically, and the use of numbers in the development of mathematical ideas.

Key Idea 3:   Operations:  Students use mathematical operations and relationships among them to understand mathematics


Nanuet Content Standard(s): 

Mathematics Standard 11  (Elementary Level)

Students will understand, develop, and use computational skills and techniques, including estimation, mental math, paper-and-pencil, calculators, and computers, in problem-solving situations.


Benchmarks (New York State/Nanuet):      

Students relate counting to grouping and to place-value
Students recognize the order of whole numbers and commonly used fractions and decimals
Students add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers
Students develop strategies for selecting the appropriate computational and operational method in problem-solving situations
Students know single digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts


Place Value
Money Notation
Mental Math


Determining the Operation; Sequencing; Operations, Transferring Data, Mental Math; Problem Solving

Context for the Task:

The students will previously have been taught operations, mental math skills, money notation, and ordering and place value of whole numbers and decimals to the hundredth place. A demonstration will be given on the overhead projector or blackboard on how to utilize a checkbook by recording and balancing deposits and withdrawals.

The purpose of the task is to introduce real life problem solving and banking skills while reinforcing the concepts and skills utilized in the task. Writing skills are an interdisciplinary connection, which is incorporated into the task.


You are responsible for managing your family’s checkbook for one month. During this time period, you will make deposits, make withdrawals from the ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) and write checks in order to pay various bills.

You will begin with a balance of $1000.00. Your task is the following:

1) Record the transactions in order in your checkbook register.

2) Choose the necessary operation for each transaction.

3) Solve correctly to have the accurate balance at the end of the month.

The following deposits were made this month:

12/16 It snowed 6 inches last night. The going rate for shoveling driveways is $10.00. You shoveled three driveways, your sister shoveled two driveways, and your brother shoveled one. You all deposited your money into the account toward the purchase of a Nintendo 64

12/20 You had a $20.00 bill but you kept $4.00 for lunch money. You deposited the rest.

12/12 Aunt Emily sent an early holiday gift to the family in the amount of $75.00. You all agree to deposit it toward the purchase of a Nintendo 64.

12/27 You spend the afternoon babysitting for your little cousin at the rate of $4.50 per hour. Uncle Lou was out from 2 PM to 5 PM. In addition to being paid at your hourly rate, he gave you a $1.00 tip. You deposit it all.

12/19 You count up all the change in your family’s piggy bank. Surprise! You had $76.41, which you deposit into the family’s account.

You also went to the ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) to withdraw money:

12/17 Dad’s car had a flat tire. He took out $95.00 for a new tire.

12/13 Basketball tickets cost $11.00 each. You took out money to purchase one for you and one for a friend.

During the past month you wrote the following checks:

12/2 Check # 100 to Pet Palace: Your new dog Bongo cost $99.00 and his accessories cost $18.96.

12/30 Check # 106 to Electronic Boutique in the amount of $162.50 to buy a Nintendo 64 – Finally!

12/22 Check # 103 in the amount of $158.36 to Rain Forest Cafe for a family holiday treat

12/18 Check # 102 to County Animal Hospital in the amount of $185.79 for Bongo’s shots

12/23 Check # 104 to IMAX: Tickets are $9.00 each and your family of five went together.

12/29 Check # 105 in the amount of $8.13 to Pet Palace; Bongo’s leash broke and must be replaced.

12/15 Check # 101 in the amount of $ 237.62 to Toys R Us for holiday gifts

Time and Materials Required to Complete the Task: 

Time needed: We allocated one week for the project to be completed at home after it was introduced.
                      Given the available class time, the assessment could be completed in class over the course of several day

Materials needed: Blank checkbook registers (actual or teacher-created)
                              Overhead projector and/or blackboard
                              Sample transparencies of checkbook register pages
                              Student copy of checkbook project and "Helpful Hints to Complete your Checkbook Project Successfully"

Teaching Tips: 

Prior to implementing the actual task, we reviewed the process of adding and subtracting money (decimals). We reinforced the necessity of consistently utilizing straight columns. Several types of multiple step word problems were introduced. Students determined the correct operation(s) to be utilized. Guided practice was given regularly, both in the classroom and as homework assignments.

Vocabulary was gradually introduced in order to prepare for the task. Students learned the definitions of checkbook, register, transaction, deposit, withdrawal, balance, and ATM (Automatic Teller Machine).

Using the co-teaching model and class discussion, we discussed the necessity and rationale for utilizing a checkbook and register. Students inferred when it would be prudent to use a check rather than cash and gave examples of such instances. Through a skit, we modeled how a check clears and when it might bounce, necessitating precise register management.

We modeled a sample register on the blackboard. Students interacted by deciding whom the checks would be written to and how we derived deposits. They derived the monetary amounts, being sure to always maintain a positive balance as we proceeded. The necessity of maintaining the correct balance was continually reinforced through the task. A list of "Helpful Hints to Complete the Checkbook Project Successfully" was included with the task. (This list is included below.)

The students had one week to complete the project at home. They were offered checkpoints on a daily basis. Students were invited and encouraged to complete their tasks prior to the due date and bring them in to show either teacher. At that time, one of us looked at the ending balance and gave the student a "Correct" or "Incorrect" statement, letting him/her know if the balance was indeed accurate. Most students took advantage of the checkpoints during the week.

Each day, five to ten minutes were provided at the start of each math period for discussion of the project. Questions were answered that directly or indirectly involved the banking project. Extra help was offered after class and in the Resource Room.

Upon reviewing the process in its entirety, we have determined that there is an option of modifying the task in order to co-teach. Each class could be split into two groups. One group would be taught using the same procedure utilized above. The other group would compile a checkbook register using an actual cut-and-paste model. This would benefit those students who need a more concrete model. Space could be given to solve the problems on the actual task. Modifications would include use of a calculator if indicated.

It should be noted that although the task was modeled in class, some students did their work on scrap paper; and did not show it in their registers. It was explained to the students that some people do indeed manage their checkbook registers in this manner. However, because this is a math project, all work should be shown. This should be reinforced when the task is introduced.

Helpful Hints to Complete the Checkbook Project Successfully

1. Solve the problems that require you to use your mathematical skills.

2. On a separate piece of paper, order all of the transactions by date.

3. Enter each transaction in the checkbook register.

Under the first column (NUMBER) enter either the check number, DEP (for deposit) or ATM (if it is an ATM withdrawal.)

Under the second column (DATE) enter the date of each transaction. Remember, these must be in chronological (date) order.

Under the third column (DESCRIPTION OF TRANSACTION) use both lines. If you are recording a check, the first line should state whom the check was written to. The second line should state what the check was for. Record the information the same way for deposits and ATM withdrawals. (See examples below.)

Example: 102 12/19 County Animal Hospital
                                for Bongo’s shots

Example: DEP 12/27 Deposit
                                Babysitting Money Plus Tip

Example: ATM 12/17 ATM Withdrawal
                                for new tire

4. Tally your results. Be sure you are using the correct operation in your checkbook register.

5.  Check your work. Remember, you must come out with the correct balance at the end of your register.

NOTE: It is not necessary to fill anything in the T column or in the FEE column.


Possible Solutions:

Sample check register
Sample of student work



Points Possible Student Assessment Teacher Assessment
  • You have met the due date.


  • Each transaction is noted in the checkbook register in chronological order


  • The appropriate operation is chosen for each transaction.




  • Each operation is completed correctly, resulting in the correct transactions being recorded in the register. You have recorded the actual addition or subtraction in the register, using the split dotted lines for your work









  • All numbers are recorded in straight columns




  • You have described each transaction as a withdrawal or a deposit, or indicated exactly to whom the check was written.  The transactions are neatly recorded in the register.




  • Spelling is correct throughout the register


  • Your final balance is accurate





The students in our classroom indicated that they enjoyed the task.

This performance task proved to be a valuable asset to the fifth grade curriculum. It is in accordance with both the New York State Learning Standards as well as the Nanuet Standards. We would encourage others to utilize it in their classrooms.


Updated 01/15/02