Q&A #139

Middle School lower-level math ideas

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From: Vasha (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 14, 1998 at 21:36:43
Subject: Re: Middle school low-level math materials

Hi Sue,  

It is good that you are seeking to update the materials with which your students 
are working. Math is such terrific subject when students are involved in hands-on 
projects that relate to real life. 

A simulation that engages my students is called "Shopping Spree Game Show" and is 
published by a company called Interact, but it is easy to create your own version.

Gather sale flyers from about 5 stores that interest your students (sporting 
goods, clothing, toys, electronics, etc.) and a menu. Make multiple copies. 
Prepare a set of cards with the names of the shopping sites, and another set with 
money amounts ($125, $250, $275, etc). Prepare a record sheeet with columns for 
"items," "individual cost," "coupons," and "final price."  Students work alone or 
in groups of 2 or 3.

At the beginning of class, each group/individual draws a shopping site card and a 
money amount card. They use the flyer for the store they drew and a record sheet 
to list their purchases. The goal is to get as close as possible to the amount 
they have to spend. The group that gets closest wins the game show for the day.  
If you are into awards, you could have smart shopper and  cooperative shopper 
awards. Groups check each other's record sheets to determine accuracy of result. 
Continue for as many days as seems appropriate for the interest and ability of 
your students.

You can make the game fit the skills your students need to practice by allowing 
rounded prices, and/or having coupons good at the different stores for reduced 
prices for multiple purchases, percent off, and reduced cost for minimum amount of 
purchase. They could even figure the tax! I encourage the use of calculators and 
occasionally limit the shopping time to 30 minutes.

Good luck in your efforts to help your students!

- Vasha

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