Lesson plan

Giving Gifts: All About Decimals

Teach your students about keeping on budget with this fun holiday-based lesson. Students will add decimals in a real-life application as they choose gifts for friends and family without breaking the bank.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Decimal Word Problems pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Decimal Word Problems pre-lesson.

Students will be able to solve decimal addition problems in a real-world setting.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to students that today for math they will be creating a holiday shopping list for their family and friends.
  • Before starting the activity, tell students that you would like to review the addition of decimals.
  • Display and hand out the Add Up Your Money! worksheet.
(5 minutes)
  • Model how to complete the first four addition problems on the Add Up Your Money! worksheet while the students follow along and write in the work and answers.
(25 minutes)
  • Instruct students to complete the rest of the attachment while you walk the room and help as needed.
  • Once everyone has finished, hand out the Happy Holiday Gift Giving worksheet.
  • Explain to students that they have been given a $50 budget to shop for 5 people for the holidays. Tell them it is very important that they do not spend more than their budget.
  • Have the students fill in the names of the 5 people they will be shopping for.
  • Hand out or have students get out notebook paper.
  • Explain to students that they will be looking through store ads and magazines for gift ideas for each person on their list. They will be using the notebook paper to write down the gift ideas and prices to use as scratch paper so they can keep track of their budget.
  • Tell the students they will have only 10 minutes to make their gift decisions. Tell them you will let them know when there are 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute left to make their final decisions.
  • Create piles of store ads and magazines either at each table group or at the front of the classroom.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • Start the timer and have students begin looking for gift ideas.
  • Walk the room to monitor students and help as needed while reminding the students of the time.
  • At the end of 10 minutes, have students recheck their work on the notebook paper to make sure they are within the $50 budget.
(20 minutes)
  • Refer students to the Happy Holiday Gift Giving worksheet.
  • Have students write down the final gifts and prices in number 2.
  • Have students cut out the pictures, if applicable, of the gift items and set aside.
  • Hand out one sheet of two different colored construction paper to each student.
  • Have students create their final list by following the instructions on number 4 on the Happy Holiday Gift Giving worksheet.
  • Make sure students complete number 5 on the worksheet before turning in their work.


  • Limit the problems to be completed on the Add Up Your Money worksheet. While you are monitoring the class, spend a little extra time helping students who need support.


  • Challenge advanced students to create a different shopping list with a budget of $100 for 8 people.
(5 minutes)
  • Place students into pairs.
  • Have students verbally share their completed lists to a partner by explaining the process they used to choose each gift and how they added the gifts to get the sums and stay within budget.
  • Listen to students' conversations to check for understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Display the final shopping lists throughout the class and conduct a gallery walk for students to view each other's work.
  • Invite students to compliment each other on their gift lists.

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