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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Authentic Money Measurement Activity

I just opened my Sunday paper to find "The Great Big 
Toys R Us Book" flyer. Last year I did the following activity with 4th and 5th Grade classes and it was very successful.

First, I collected all my neighbors' books and then went to the local Toy R Us store to obtain more books until I had a total of one for every two students in the class. The student work with a partner on this activity, but each student purchased their own individual items. 

Each student will have $200 to spend using the Toys Are Us Catalog. They may spend less than $200.00, but they may not spend more than $200. They must purchase a minimum of 4 items.  They do not need to worry about calculating tax. 
(Though if you did this activity with 6th Grade classes calculating tax would be a good idea.)

The students will receive a “Waitress receipt form” 
to list their purchases and the accompanying prices for each item.(I bought them at Walmart for around $3.00. For some reason, using the pre-printed pad form made the activity more engaging for the students)  The students must obtain a total of all purchases at the bottom of the receipt form.  

I would suggest that you make them add the Waitress receipt form dollar amounts without a calculator.  If you need to differentiate for some students let them use the calculator.

On the back of the receipt, students are to calculate their change from the $200.00 that they were told they could spend.
When the students are ready to hand in their completed assignment, they are to check their work with a calculator in front of the teacher.  Any errors need to be corrected.  The teacher will write the amount of change in RED on the receipt.

As a whole class, make an “amount of change” ranking from the lowest (or closest to spending exactly $200.00) to the greatest amount of change received. (This is another opportunity to compare numbers. If you don’t have time to complete this part of the activity today, save it and as a whole group do this activity the following day.)



  1. Awesome! You've incorporated so many skills into this activity and I bet the kids love it. Heading out to the recycle bin now.

  2. Stacey,
    It's funny how the students pour over the catalog to spend their $200.00.... dreaming about what they want.

  3. I am so excited about this idea! I have upper grade special needs students and I am sure this will be a big hit! I have folks gathering catalogs for me! Thanks for such an awesome idea!
    Randy Sue in Coshocton, Ohio

  4. Randy Sue,
    Don't tell Toys R Us but they have huge stacks of their catalogs in their stores. The lady at the service desk told me to "help myself" when I asked if I could take 15 catalogs. Also, with special needs students consider the calculator and count down from $200 using subtraction...or "How much do You have left?" Be sure to get the waitress pads...they will love them.

  5. Hi Deborah,

    I am a multi-grade teacher in Canada. I live at a ski resort and teach kindergarten to grade 3. I tried to find your email but I think this might be the only option. I love following blog sites but I haven't had any luck finding any teacher with a blog in the same situation as me. Can you recommend any blogs with a multigrade classroom? Google searches doesn't come up with much.



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