In the last few days before winter break, my students worked on math projects that encouraged a review of their math skills with real life applications. Then, they finished their math projects over winter break.
My Year 3 and Year 4 students (2nd and 3rd grade) completed my Holiday Shopping Project. They used websites like www.amazon.com to do mock holiday shopping. Each student was assigned $100 and chose 3 different presents to purchase. They then practiced rounding, addition and subtraction while putting together their project sheet.
One of my students decided to spend half of his money on a video game for his brother because “he’ll share it with me!” It was fun to watch him figure out how to get presents for the rest of his family with the money he had left!
My Year 5 and Year 6 students (4th and 5th grade) completed my Balanced Checkbook Project. The students were randomly assigned to a job card, which dictated their salary and bills. Students had to take their annual salary and figure out how much money they would have to work with each month. Then, they had to balance their checkbook by paying their bills and making a grocery list and estimating a grocery budget. Students also had the option of buying luxury items and even had a “surprise” – some good and some bad.
About half of my students had completed this project with me last year, but were able to re-do the project with a new job, making for some interesting observations from my students. One of my students had received a low paying salary card last year, but received a high paying salary this year. In his final reflection, he told me “I learned that with a good salary you can have money left. Last year, I had a horrible salary. This year I had more money so I got every luxury item.” Another student decided to buy $200 worth of pork roast and ran out of money, so he went back and changed his groceries to include bacon because it was cheap, but still pork.
Real life math projects give students a chance to see that what we learn in school has an application outside of the classroom. Later this year, my students will also be creating their own school with my Be an Architect project, planning a Valentine’s party with my Party Planning project and going out for ice cream with friends with my Ice Cream Shop project.
How do you use math projects in your classroom?