Math Class or Shopping Spree? You Decide.
On January 8th, every student in my 7th grade math class skipped school to go to the mall! Kidding, not kidding. Actually, math followed them to the mall, where hands-on learning was both priceless and on sale!
Mall Math Marathon
In my 8th Annual Mall Math Marathon, the RCA class of 2020 invaded the Lenox Mall on a mission! Students worked in teams to complete real life challenges using skills from our consumer math lesson. These savvy shoppers gave 100% of their effort to finding percent-off discounts.
They budgeted like bosses while finding the perfect outfit. They even calculated what the actual “boss” would
pay in commission for their purchases!
As in any marathon, the journey was arduous and the physical demands took their tole. Fortunately for these “matheletes” this course included a food court! Why did the hungry students cross the buffet line? To practice calculating sales tax, of course!
Good thing they refueled, because this course was full of challenging mark-ups and mark-downs. Another “product” of the race included calculating the price per unit of electronic products. Of course, no marathon would be complete without a victory dance at the finish line, and my students did not disappoint!
Keeping it Real
Math teacher, Matthew Kitchen, points out that students need more opportunities to see the real purpose of the math they learn, so that they are motivated to do more than memorize for a test. Real world application of consumer math can help students retain and generalize concepts like decimal conversion, proportionality, and unit price. What better way to engage students in real life application than at your local mall?
The Mall Math Marathon is a fun and approachable introduction to financial literacy, which has been shown to improve overall math proficiency, but is not mandated nationwide. In states with rigorous K-12 financial literacy requirements, young adults have significantly better credit scores and lower rates of delinquency. So, applying consumer math to real life might just impact more than your students’ math grades!
Can’t get your students to the mall? No problem. You can bring the mall to your classroom with the Mall Math Marathon Classroom Edition. (Download it for free HERE) Your students will enjoy the challenge of finding the best outfit that comes closet to the budget without going over. They’ll pay with pennies to master decimal conversions. Your sports fans can practice computations with their favorite jerseys and there’s even a challenge for ordering the perfect lunch! Check out all the details in the full lesson and watch your students flex their financial muscles as they master consumer math!