Book Club Order Math

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)

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Once the rules were established, they were off and running!  The kids loved looking through the flyer for their favorite books to purchase.  They even had some justifications on who the extra copies were for ("I need to buy three copies of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid because my brother and best friend would want one too") 

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. 

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Where most of them ran into an issue was at the end of the project.  Once they had made their purchases, wrote them down, and subtracted from the original $200 on the running total, they then had to fill in the actual order form and add up all of the purchases.  This served as a check on their subtraction and a double check to make sure they were within the budget (plus, it gave them practice adding decimals).  Many students found that their final sum was $1 or so off from their subtraction total.  They then had to go back and discover where they made the mistake in their math.  For most of them, it was a borrowing mistake on the subtraction side. 

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

21 comments

  1. This is such a great idea!

    I really appreciate you sharing your ideas. I am also a 5th grade teacher in California and work at a teeny tiny school where I am the only 5th grade teacher..so I don't really have another person to bounce 5th grade specific ideas off of. I can't tell you how often I use your ideas! Thank you! Thank you! Lattes and Laughter

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    1. Thank you Julia! I am so glad that you are able to get some ideas to use in your classroom from my blog :) I used to work in a school that was year round, and we only had one teacher at each level (plus a split 4/5) It was so hard not really having anyone to bounce ideas off of. Glad I can be some sort of resource for you.

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    2. I am the only 5/6 math teacher in my school and I agree with you both! Thanks for the ideas!! Going to put it to use next week!

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  2. This could not have come at a more perfect time for my 5th graders and me!! Just this week, I really noticed how many of my students have trouble with subtraction using decimals! And I now have something to do the many duplicate book order form copies I receive! Thanks for your many fun and helpful resources!

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  3. What a great idea to get your school objective fit in and to use up the extra catalogs! Sounds fun to me!

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  4. Wonderful post! This is a great opportunity for students to experience math in real life! I'm going to be tutoring a 5th grader soon, whom I think will benefit from this project.

    Jessica
    The Learning Metamorphosis

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  5. Your ideas are amazing! I can't wait to use this!

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  6. This is wonderful! We've already added and subtracted and are working on multiplying this week. This would make a perfect culminating activity. Would you be willing to share your worksheets?

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    1. Most definitely. You can get them at the link above or just right here http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Book-Club-Order-Shopping

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    2. I'm sorry! I totally missed the link! Thanks!

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  7. Thank you so much for the book order organization sheets. I printed them and will be using them Monday!
    Tracey
    Third Grade All Stars

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  8. Love the idea! I'm not teaching 5th this year, but have shared your blog with our 5th/6th grade teacher, and I know she'll find some treasures here.

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  9. Such a fantastic idea, it sounds like so much fun but with great math skills thrown in, thank you!

    Love to Learn

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  10. This is a fabulous idea! I've also used leftover catalogues to make recycled paper in an environmental unit.

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  11. I've done this in the past and love your take on it! Thanks, Stephanie!!

    Elizabeth
    Fun in Room 4B

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  12. I love this idea! Using it Friday with my 6th graders!!!

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  13. Thank you so much!! I appreciate you sharing all of your ideas.

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  14. Ohh...I love this idea - I just found this post through the Teaching Blog Addict Freebie party for 5th and 6th grades. What a great way to get kids interested in real life math!
    Jenn
    DoodlingAroundin6thGrade

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