Scaffolded consumer math curriculum for building financial literacy

Scaffolded Consumer Math Curriculum

How do I file a tax return? What is a credit score? How much of my paycheck will be withheld for taxes? How much rent can I afford? What is an APR? I got a TON of questions just like these when teaching high school consumer math. Many of the questions were about things I assumed my students would already know. But how would they know? My students were seniors and worried about life after high school. Understandable!

The consumer math curriculum's student notebook sheets build an interactive notebook and match the student book.

Finding consumer math curriculum materials can be a challenge. When I taught the course there was no curriculum, and I spent so much time piecing it together. After years milling over the idea of building a printable, comprehensive consumer math curriculum to make teaching the course easy, I am SO EXCITED to say that I now have one available on my website. The curriculum will answer all of your students' personal finance questions, and more.

This new consumer math curriculum is an approachable guide to building financial literacy. It includes warm-ups, a student book, accompanying student notebook sheets for building an interactive notebook, a teacher's book, projector notes to shine on the board, editable quizzes and all answer keys. You can download a curriculum preview here.

This curriculum was especially made for teaching a high school personal finance, financial literacy or consumer math class. Topics covered in the course are listed below. 

Here is a short video overview of the student book and student notebook sheets:


  • Wants vs. needs
  • Checks and registers
  • Wages and salary
  • Bank accounts
  • Budgets
  • Electronic banking and credit cards
  • Credit score
  • Discounts and coupons
  • Sales tax and tip
  • Percent change
  • Unit price
  • Income taxes*
  • Car loans
  • Mortgages
  • Student loans
  • Investing 

*The income taxes unit will be updated every year. Re-downloads are free.

Scaffolded Consumer Math Curriculum

Files included: 
  • Printable student book (174 pages) 
  • Printable teacher’s book (178 pages) 
  • Printable student notebook sheets (105 half sheets)
  • Projector notes (these match the student notebook sheets) 
  • Editable quizzes for each unit (16 quizzes in PowerPoint) 
  • Warm-ups for each unit
  • All answer keys 

Scaffolded Consumer Math Curriculum - income taxes unit


The student book is a reference that includes vocabulary, examples and questions for students to answer. You can choose to print the entire student book at once, or each unit at a time for student packets or their binders. Both formats are included.

The student notebook sheets are half-sheets designed for an interactive notebook. The sheets provide space for students to answer the questions posed in the book, and also include additional analysis questions. Students paste these notebook sheets into a composition notebook, which then becomes their own personal finance reference.

The teacher’s book and student notebook sheets answer key include all answers to all questions presented in the student book and the extra analysis questions on the student notebook sheets.

The projector notes match the student notebook sheets so that you can complete notes along with your students on the board.

The quizzes are completely editable. Quiz answer keys are included for all quizzes and are also editable.

The warm-ups for every unit are formatted for student notebooks.

Scaffolded Consumer Math Curriculum


Who is this curriculum for? 
I wrote this consumer math curriculum for high school students not taking precalculus or calculus and who may have mild to moderate disabilities in math and/or reading. These are the students I taught when teaching consumer math and who I feel will benefit most from this curriculum. 

Can it work for younger students? 
If your students have already been introduced to percents, this consumer math curriculum may work for them. However, I feel that high school students will be more invested in learning the material as it answers the questions they currently have about their personal finances. 

Do you have a sample to share?
While I don't have a sample to share, you can download a preview of the curriculum here. It shows all that is included in the first unit-- Wants. vs. Needs.

What makes this curriculum different from what is already out there? 
When I taught consumer math, I needed a textbook that covered all of the personal finance topics important for my students to learn, along with matching print-and-go notebook sheets. Having these would have saved me an incredible amount of prep time, so this is how I built the curriculum. The curriculum will also be updated every year to reflect changes to the way we file income taxes. Re-downloads will always be free.

Is it for a semester or for the year? 
This curriculum does not contain activities outside of the student notebook sheets, so can possibly be completed in a single semester. For teachers who would like to supplement with additional activities, a big bundle of consumer math activities available here.

How many licenses do I need? 
The curriculum is licensed for 1 single teacher to use with his or her students year after year.

I homeschool. Will this work for me? 
Yes, the curriculum will work in a homeschool setting. All of the information needed to complete the student notebook sheets is found in the student book. You may not need the projector notes because they are meant to project onto a screen in a classroom, but all other included materials will work.

Is it available on TPT? 
No, the consumer math curriculum is only available on my website linked below.

Do you have a list of standards? 
This curriculum covers the following National Standards for Personal Financial Education: 

Earning Income: wages and salary, gross pay, exact net pay, approximating net pay, pay schedules, tips, earning interest, retirement savings, 401(K) employer matching, filing income taxes, tax deductions, wage theft 

Spending: budgeting, keeping a register, comparing unit prices, sales tax, discounts, coupons 

Saving: savings, checking, money market accounts, CDs, simple interest, compound interest, pre- and post-tax retirement accounts 

Investing: risk vs. reward, stock market, bonds, retirement accounts, diversifying

Credit: credit card interest, credit card choices, credit score, credit report, minimum payments, APRs, down payments, car loans, mortgages, amortization schedules, student loan interest, student loan choices, deferment, forbearance, capitalizing interest 

Do you have a printout that I can give to my admin for approval? 
Yes, you can find a printout here for your administrator. 

Will the curriculum be updated?
Yes, this curriculum will be updated every year to reflect changes to the way we file income taxes. When the curriculum is ready to be re-downloaded, you will receive an email. Re-downloads are free.

Do you accept school purchase orders?
Yes, you can find information about purchase orders on the PO page.

With everything you need in one place, this consumer math curriculum will make teaching the course easy for you and enjoyable for your students. Consumer math is such an important and fun course to teach, and I hope that your students thoroughly enjoy building their financial literacy with you! Please send me an email to if you have any questions.

The consumer math curriculum is available for download here.

Printable Math Escape Rooms

Printable Math Escape Rooms

"Can the digital math escape rooms be printed?"

No, they're only in Google Forms. YES!

Over the next few months, I'll be updating each digital math escape room to also include a printable version in its file. If you want a day without computers, or if you'd just like access to both printable and digital, you'll now have that choice in the same file.

Solving 2-Step Equations Digital Math Escape Room

The questions will be the same between the digital math escape rooms and their printable updates. The formatting of the printable math escape rooms will be similar to their Google Forms versions, with a couple small changes. 

Finding Slope Digital Math Escape Room

First, all color will be removed so that they can be easily printed at school. 

Printable math escape rooms answer sheet

Each will also have an answer sheet with directions and spaces for each puzzle's 4-letter code.

Printable math escape rooms next step box

I also wanted to keep some self-checking component like the digital versions have, so each printable puzzle will have a NEXT STEP box. 

Students can start on any of the 5 puzzles, they don't all have to start on puzzle #1. This will make it easy for you to have students work together in groups. Students are directed to answer all 4 questions in their first puzzle, record their 4-letter answer code onto their answer sheet, then check the puzzle's NEXT STEP box to see which puzzle to visit next. This part of the escape room works a bit like a scavenger hunt.

Here's a short Facebook live overview of how the new printable versions work:

This is going to be a big project, but one I am excited to do! I will add a link to each math escape room that has been updated with a printable version here throughout the summer. 

math escape room updated cover to show that it now includes a printable version along with the digital version

Their covers will have a small yellow circle to show they have been updated. The covers will also say "escape room" instead of "digital escape".

Current list of updated math escape rooms:

(now include both printable and digital)

Solving 2-Step Equations

Adding and Subtracting Integers

Finding Slope

Order of Operations

Pythagorean Theorem

Fraction Review

Solving Multi-Step Equations

Multiplying and Dividing Multi-Digit Numbers

Unit Rates

Coordinate Plane

Area, Perimeter and Volume

Graphing Linear Equations

Solving 1-Step Equations

All bundles on both TPT and my website will be updated with the new versions. If you own any of these escape rooms or the bundles they are in, you can re-download them for free from either site to get the updates.


Free math resource library

Teaching small group Algebra 2

A collection of small group special education algebra 2 teaching ideas

Teaching small group algebra 2 was challenging and super rewarding. Now that I am out of the classroom, teaching algebra 2 is one of the things I miss most. So much growth happens in students between when they enter the course and leave it. There were always so many times when my students thought a topic would be way too hard and ended up mastering it not too much time later. 

In this post I want to share some of the teaching ideas and materials that I used in my small group special education algebra 2 class. Every student had an IEP and most were in 11th grade. Some were seniors, but most seniors in small group math took consumer math. I'll also link towards the end some of the cheat sheets I made for our inclusion algebra 2 class that got a bit farther in the curriculum than we did in small group.

If you've taught 9th grade algebra, you will likely recognize some of the topics we cover in small group algebra 2. A lot of review was necessary to lay the groundwork for new topics:

Free Printable Unit Price Task Cards

Free Printable Unit Price Task Cards

Who doesn't love a good unit price fail? Once I started taking photos of unit pricing to take back to my consumer math class, fails seemed to pop up everywhere. This was one that had me standing in the baby aisle for way more time than I'd care to admit:

Teaching Teens How to File a 1040 Tax Return

Filing income taxes can be intimidating! In this post is a set of task cards that teach students how to file a 1040 federal tax form. The activity teaches how to file a 1040 tax return and how to fill out a Schedule 1 through a fun tsk cards activity that walks students through how to fill out the forms.

Filing income taxes can be intimidating! And teaching students how to file a federal 1040 tax form can be a bit tedious. There are so many lines on the form, most irrelevant to younger folks, that it can become overwhelming. This is why I made this 1040 cheat sheet.

Geometric transformations in the coordinate plane with a hole punch

In this post I share an easy, hands-on method for demonstrating reflections and rotations of geometric shapes and their coordinates in the coordinate plane. The video included in the post covers reflecting over the x-axis, over the y-axis and over the line y = x. This same method will work for reflecting over any line of symmetry in the coordinate plane, even linear equations. I then share an idea for showing geometric rotations with a hole punch.

Last week, I wrote a post about using a hole punch to find function inverses in the coordinate plane. A few people asked on Facebook if the process would also work for geometric reflections, and it absolutely does! 

In this post I share an easy, hands-on method for demonstrating reflections and rotations of geometric shapes and their coordinates in the coordinate plane. The video included in the post covers reflecting over the x-axis, over the y-axis and over the line y = x. This same method will work for reflecting over any line of symmetry in the coordinate plane, even linear equations. I then share an idea for showing geometric rotations with a hole punch.