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Fun, real-world math

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:00 am
by milehimom
My kids and I had fun with a real life math lesson a few weeks ago. We went to the local HUGE furntiture warehouse store together with clipboards, pencils and calculators. They LOVE the furntiture store - the pretend spilled drinks on the couches are what draws them I think. Before we left, I typed up a little worksheet for them. They each had to furnish a new home. They had to 'buy' furniture for a bedroom, dining room, family room and backyard. Most rooms had a budget for them to follow. This meant they had to estimate to the nearest hundred dollars usually to mentally add up what they'd chosen. Later, the next day, for math, we graphed our purchases for each room.

In some rooms they were required to compare prices and find the cheapest one and calculate the differences in price. I asked them to find some sale items and find out howmuch they were saving by buying it on sale. WHen they were all done, we added up how much was spent in each room. We found the average amount spent in each room. We saw how spending a huge amount in one room compared to the others really throws off the average. We calculated how much we'd save if we had a 20% coupon on the entire purchase.....

We had a great time. After everyone had made and recorded their choices, we sat down in the store cafe' with a soda and a cookie and finished our figuring together. THe calculators were for those too young to divide or find percentages on their own. We also used them to check ourselves along the way (they are in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades). I highly recommend a fun activity of this sort. We did 2.5 hours of math! Their favorite part was the 'unlimited' budget in their outdoor purchases, all three bought hottubs! WHen they talked to Dad on the phone that night (my husband travels -- this was our Sunday afternoon activity!), they all had to tell them what they'd bought, and how much they'd spent, as if they'd really done so!

I was worried that my little math activity was a bit on the materialistic side. We are a very thrifty family though, and it was like a great dream to just spend, spend, spend even if it was pretend money! However, I was surprised (and thrilled) to find that even when my oldest was given an unlimited budget - she only bought the sale items and was always on the look out for the best deal! AH... a child after my own heart! The activity did promote conversation about their Grand Totals and about how expensive furntiture is and does one really ever buy all their furniture at once, or does one really need a complete, matching bedroom set? ANyway, that is my disclaimer for this very extravagant 'spending spree'.

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:50 am
by 4given
That's a great idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:15 pm
by Shari Nielsen
That's a great application! I would not have considered going to the furniture store! Did any sales-people ask if you needed help???

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:37 pm
by milehimom
Actually, I was pleased with the salesperson response! We were, of course, several times..... but each time, we explained what we were doing. They left us alone and smiled each time they walked by. Several commented that it's great to see kids learning real world skills! Yeah, score one for the homeschoolers!

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:38 pm
by milehimom
oops, didn't proofread what I wrote! Pretend that reads: We were APPROACHED several times by sales people!

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:35 pm
by Shari Nielsen
That's ok - I got what you intended. I told my kids about this and they thought this was a great idea. I pick up so many creative ideas from this site!!!!