Using Grocery Flyers To Practice Math Skills

Guest post by Alyssa from Teaching in the Fast Lane.

Hello all!  I am excited to be guest posting here on Laura’s blog. Today I’ll be sharing an easy, low prep way of reviewing multiple math concepts with grocery flyers.

If your mailbox looks anything like mine, it is overflowing with junk mail. One of the biggest culprits is grocery flyers. I receive weekly flyers from four different stores, and they really pile up in the recycling bin. I was staring at the pile one day, and an idea struck me. Real world problem solving was staring right back at me!

On my way to the classroom the next day, I grabbed a handful of flyers to give my idea a try. When small group math time came, I fired out a few questions to my students.

  • Have you seen these before?
  • What might you use them for?
  • What do you think we are going to do with them?

I asked the last question, because most of the time my students have better ideas than I do!

Getting Started with Grocery Flyer Math
My plan was to take these flyers and do a complete review of our math concepts from the year.

We started with each student choosing an item, cutting it out, then gluing it to an index card. On the index card we recorded the price in standard, word, and expanded form as well as drew a base ten model.

The next step was to take these items and compare them. We ordered them from least to greatest then placed them on a giant number line. We also converted our decimals into fractions, and that was just out first day!

More Math Concepts to Explore
I was so impressed with how engaged my students were by these grocery flyers, so I went home after that first day and thought about what else we could do.This is what I came up with:

  • Rounding—round the price of each item to find an estimate of the total bill.
  • Adding and Subtracting Decimals—this is even more fun when you find aflyer that has coupons, because it is more authentic practice!
  • Multiplying Decimals—for when you need more than one of an item or foradding tax to a purchase.
  • Multi-Step Problem Solving—students create their own problems based onitems and coupons then trade with a partner.
  • Planning—find a recipe and plan a meal. Then figure out the cost of the items.
  • Graphing and Data—use the prices or types of items as data to create tables,plots, or graphs.
  • Measurement problem solving—decide what unit of measurement would beused for each item. Make a list of how much of each unit you want to buy.
  • Geometry—identify any 3D shapes you can find.

Of course, this list is not all that you can do, but it should be a great start!

Alyssa is a fourth grade teacher who strives to reach every student through cooperative learning, novel experiences, and various teaching antics. She blogs at Teaching in the Fast Lane.