Student Loans

Eugene agreed to pay back £95 a month for five years.

Nung has to pay back £490 per year for the next 12 years.

Julie needs to pay back £800 this year, £900 next year and then continue paying £100 more than the previous year for a total of six years.

Ted will pay back the amount he borrowed plus 10% interest.

Clive agreed to pay back a lump sum of £4000 and 6 installments of £200.

Rosie pays £20 in the first month. Each month after that she pays twice as much as the previous month for a total of eight months.

Six students borrow £5000 to help pay for their university course. Calculate how much each will have to pay back to the lender.

Topics: Starter | Arithmetic | Money

  • Transum,
  • As well as the mathematical skills required to calculate the amount these loans actually cost there is also another learning objective associated with this activity. Young people should develop a sense of what interest means and what the consequences of borrowing money are. Fixed and variable rates of interest can be difficult to comprehend and many people find themselves borrowing more than they can afford to pay back. It is an important aspect of the Maths Teacher’s job to help students develop a healthy attitude towards personal loans and to equip them with the numeracy skills to make good judgments.
  • Chris Smith, Bushenyi, Uganda
  • An excellent starter for the year one students at this Primary Teachers' College in Western Uganda. I selected the 14 weakest for this group, on basis of their O level results. They found the starter a challenge, even when they had understood the words. Class sizes are between 55 and 70, so identifying and helping the weakest, the strongest, not to mention the ones in the middle, is a challenge. (I am running evening tutorials with my personal modem, no internet at college.).
  • Rachel, Melbourne
  • My class and I had a debate on what the answer was for Rosie. Most people said the answer was $5,100 and I said it was $5,120, as you times the previous month to get the amount for the next month. For some reason they said that you add all the previous months to $2,560 to get $5,100. I said that you multiple $2,560 times two to get $5,120 as it says you double to amount from the previous month. The grammar in that problem was not clear enough.

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
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Globe of Flags

This activity is suitable for students of mathematics all around the world. Use the button below to change the currency symbol used to make it more relevant to your students. You may wish to choose an unfamiliar currency to extend your students' experience.

Globe of Flags


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Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers such as tablets, iPads or Laptops?  This page was really designed for projection on a whiteboard but if you really want the students to have access to it here is a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments:

However it would be better to assign one of the student interactive activities below.

Laptops In Lessons

Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.

Student Activity


Images of students used in this Starter are courtesy of photostock


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