Alexander Used to Be Rich . . .

One of my favorite books for integrating real-world mathematics and economic/financial literacy is Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday.

KidsEconPosters has some great EBQ’s (Economic Based Questions) to use while reading the story.

Now, let’s extend this into real-world mathematical problem solving! Here are some questions to guide the inquiry:

Problem Solving Inside the Text:Follow the trail of money through the story. Create money pictures and/or equations to represent Alexanders exchanges.

What was Alexander’s money problem at the end of the story?

Let’s start at the beginning of the text again. What happens if we change some of Alexander’s money decisions?

Problem Solving Beyond the Text: 

$20.00 from

$20.00 from

Create your own money problem. Imagine you received twenty dollars from your favorite aunt. Would you spend it all? What would you buy? Would you save some or all of it?

Draw a picture to explain your financial activities and illustrate your mathematical problem solving decisions. Videotape your discussion to show what you know or use a whiteboard app on a mobile device-like ShowMe to demonstrate how you figured out the answer.

Specimen $100 from

Explore More for Econ: Explore the new $100.00 note with the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Check out the New Security Features tab and click on the Explore Interactive Note button for a very cool virtual tour of the $100 dollar bill, as well as the $5, $10, $20, & $5!


About Deborah Kozdras

Instructor and Chief Creative Officer at the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education at the University of South Florida.
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