Number and Operations: Using Gift Certificates
||4 to 5|
||45 to 60 minutes|
This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit
under the promising practice: Math Centers
This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement Math Centers. In this activity, students use number and operation skills to figure out how best to spend a gift certificate at their favorite restaurant.
- Solve real-world problems involving number and operations
- Use mathematical tools effectively to solve problems
- Compute (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) decimals
- Use specific strategies such as estimation and rounding to make predictions
- Understand and apply a variety of strategies to solve problems
- Reflect on and communicate mathematical reasoning
- Unlined and/or graph paper
- Pencils with erasers
- Base-10 blocks (optional)
- Play money and materials to set up a restaurant table (optional)
- Mission description and menu
- Sample Instructions, Mission, and Menu (PDF)
- Gather materials and arrange centers, giving students access to materials.
- Print out copies of the mission description, menu, and guiding questions.
What to Do:
- Create groups of four to five students for each center. You may want to assign students to groups based on their needs and abilities, or ask students to count off for random groups.
- Students may work independently with group support, or together as a group. For group work, you may want to ask each group to delegate one student to read the mission description and guiding questions, and other students to be in charge of different materials and tasks to ensure that everyone participates.
- Explain to students that they will have 30 minutes to complete the activity.
- Circulate among the centers, listening to students' conversations and facilitating discussion by asking questions that guide students toward a solution. Be ready to model problem solving with base-10 blocks or other materials. Provide positive feedback to encourage students' success.
- When students have completed the activity, ask each group to present their solutions (there may be more than one), as well as the steps and mathematical reasoning involved. Allow time for questions and answers.
Using Base-10 Blocks |
Base-10 blocks are wooden or plastic blocks that represent units of 1, 10, or 100. In this lesson, students can use them as they would play money, to represent quantities as they figure how to spend their gift certificate. Basic 10 blocks are an example of a manipulative, a concrete object that helps some students calculate amounts. Using Guiding Questions
Guiding questions offer problem-solving prompts that encourage students to think for themselves and use what they know to figure out the answer. For example, students may present an answer and ask you if it is right. Instead of simply saying yes or no, you might want to ask them how they got their answer, if it makes sense to them, and if they know how to check their math to see if their answer is right. In this way, students are using what they know to answer their own question, and learning how to justify their thinking. Use the following guiding questions or add your own.
- Can you re-state the problem in your own words?
- What do you know about the problem? For example, how much can you spend? How many people are using the gift certificate? What does that tell you about how much each person can spend?
- What method do you plan on using to solve the problem? What is your strategy? How are you keeping track of your thinking and which strategies you have tried?
- What materials could help you solve the problem?
- How did you find your answer? Does it make sense?
- Did you answer the question? Go back and check.
- What did you learn from other students that helped you solve the problem?
- Finally, how can you show that your answer is correct?
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and interest in problem solving
- Students using a variety of approaches and strategies to problem solve
- Answers that reflect reasonable predictions and effective use of tools
- Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals accurately
- Students' ability to communicate how they arrived at the solution
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.