Saturday, September 28, 2013

Finding the best deal is harder than it looks...

I had another reminder this week about how different my childhood was from the students that I teach in my classroom today.  I realized it this week while studying unit rates and watching my students try and find information in advertisements.  I began to be very thankful that my parents taught me a lot about unit rates through very authentic and natural experiences.

My mom is a huge bargain hunter.  When I was younger, she would scour the grocery store ads and compare prices.  She had the calculator out and would go down to the unit prices to get the best deal.  Even standing in the grocery store, she would estimate the unit cost of the generic peanut butter and the big brand name on sale.  I remember whining many times about what was taking so long and my mother, ever so patiently each time, explained that you have to figure out the best deal to make your money go farther.  She explained how she was figuring out the unit cost and often times asked me or my brother to get the next item on her list, but to get the best deal.  Sometimes she even handed us a coupon and asked us to figure out if it was a better deal with the coupon or not.  So much great mathematical conversation and mental math work was going on during those trips to the grocery store.  I guess now I am thankful for always being dragged along with my mom.  She taught lifelong skills that I still use every time I stand in the grocery store aisle trying to save a few pennies.

My kiddos aren't growing up like this today.  This week, after defining unit rates, discussing them, giving practice problems, and my kiddos appearing ready to take on the world of unit rates, I was so wrong.  The application of this skill is trickier than I anticipated.  I gave my students free reign to find three products to compare by finding the unit rate and determining the best deal.  I thought that this would be a great real world experience for them.  I realized that they have a lot of trouble just reading a grocery store advertisement (which can be a completely separate lesson on ratios).  The ad was 4 boxes of cereal for $8 and the kiddos were comparing ounces to $8, not $2.  The kiddos also brought up items that were on sale for 25% off, but no price for the specific item was given.  They wanted to know how to figure out the price.  There were also lots of questions about how to calculate the unit rate, too!  I thought that they were so prepared to handle this!!

So, it is regrouping from here.  I have learned that this is not a life experience for them as it was for me.  I assumed when I shouldn't have and I am regretting not building more background for my activity.  My first plan is to reteach and practice again.  I made a scavenger hunt for them to do.  The Powerpoint is embedded below for you to use.  I used free clip art from a Google search and I did use names from kiddos in the class.  You can totally change that up. 

Each student will will in the answer sheet and I can buzz around to answer questions and just listen to their thinking.

After they finish the scavenger hunt, they can return to finding products to do their comparisons.  I am hoping that it is just a matter of some more practice and experience. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris! I found your blog from the Fifth in the Middle linky. I am a MN blogger too. I teach 2nd grade in Frazee (near Detroit Lakes) and I am your newest blog follower! I look forward to reading more posts on your blog and possibly networking with you in the future! If you have a chance, I would love for you to stop by my blog and check it out! I have a huge giveaway going on right now that I think your students would benefit from!!!
    Mrs. Olson’s Lucky Little Learners