High school math can sometimes be criticized for not being applicable to the real world. When learning to solve right angle triangles or use exponent laws, math teachers will sometimes hear students question “When am I ever going to use this?”. On all period day in grade 10 Essential Math, we aimed to dispel that critique with a project where students learned practical skills and concepts that they will very likely use in their daily lives.

We spent all period C day exploring the question “Is Buying Bulk a Better Deal?”. We began the day by walking over to Sobey’s where students were instructed to write down the prices of different sizes of the same product and the quantity of those items. For example, they could use the price of a small, 500g, box of Cheerios and the price of the large box, 750g, box of Cheerios. They had to do this for 10 different items. We then came back to the school to analyze our data. Students entered their data into an Excel spreadsheet, and then used functions and formulas to calculate the unit price of the small and large items, the percentage savings of each item, and the average percentage savings of the 10 items. Students also learned to create a graph to provide a visual for their data analysis. They completed their projects by creating a poster of all their work and sharing their results with the class. The results varied from saving 7% to almost 28% by purchasing items in larger quantities. Students also recognized that though you can save a lot of money by purchasing products in larger quantities, it does not always make sense because items may spoil or people may not have the budget to purchase larger quantities of goods.

Every student will eventually have to go grocery shopping. Understanding unit prices and percentage savings will help them to make better decisions and be more informed consumers.

By Suzy Martins, Math Teacher

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