Right now, we are learning about manipulating decimals in math. We have pretty much mastered adding and subtracting and have moved on the multiplying them. (although, truth be told, they are still having some issues with place value ;) ) After learning all of the standard algorithms for each operation, I wanted to give the students something to which they could apply their learning.
I don't know about you, but my teacher mailbox is overflowing with Book Club order forms. I LOVE that the students love to read, and that they want to order books for their own personal libraries, BUT the amount of magazines I receive can be ridiculous at times. I usually end up throwing them away. However, Scholastic recently went back to the un-round prices for their books (ie: it was $4, now it is $3.99) Because of this, these magazines are PERFECT for a math project involving our decimal operations!
To set it up, I told the students that they had $200 to shop for books. They were quite excited by this! Then, I hit them with the stipulations:
1. There must be 5 different titles on their shopping lists.
2. There must be at least 2 copies of each title (so they could practice multiplying!)
3. They must keep a running total of all purchases (to practice subtracting)
4. They could not spend any less than $195 (so they didn't just choose very cheap books with 2 copies)
As the math wore on, some of the students found that they were spending too much money and had to adjust their quantities. Others still saw that they were spending too little money and ended up purchasing 10 or more titles.
All in all, my students really enjoyed this project. They were practicing all of the math skills they needed, but were still having a good time doing it. And what is better is that now I have a nice bulletin board for my room :)
You can grab the organization sheets I gave my students for this project here.