Monday Math Challenge: Organic Food Shopping

 In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be fun to tie in some environmental friendliness to our math lesson.

To start off, the kids and I discussed what it means for something to be "organic".
  • Why would we choose to buy organic foods?  
  • How can organic foods be helpful to ourselves and the environment? 

After a good brainstorming sesh, each student chose a supermarket to research (Stop & Shop, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and ShopRite).  Next, they were given an organic food shopping list that I grabbed from  This worksheet is intended to be brought into a supermarket, but I decided to make this an Internet research project instead.

This worksheet, along with other excellent resources for the classroom, can be found at
Next, we went off to the computer lab where the kids were sent out to do some research.  This project was great because it really forced my students to become creative in their searches.  Not all the websites had information readily available, so they needed to search through online circulars, browse through advertisements, and also use search engines to guide them.  From a research perspective, at the close of the lesson, we discussed what was easy or hard about the research.  We also reflected on which supermarkets had more user friendly websites, or more information readily available to the consumers.
Students working in the computer lab for their research.
To differentiate for my learners, students working on a higher ability level were asked to create two shopping lists, and see how cheap they could make their lists. These students needed to calculate percents off of their items, just as they would in real life.  For my kiddos performing at a lower level, we discussed common patterns we found in the sales, such as "buy one get one 1/2 off" or does "1/2 off mean the same as 50%"?  

All in all, this was a neat lesson...jam packed full of useful learning that my students can translate into their daily lives.  Most importantly, the kids had fun! At the end of the day I even had one student say to me, "Mrs. S...I don't even feel like we did any Math today..." to which I replied..."Surprise! Yes, you did!..."

What are some ways you incorporate real life Math challenges into your classroom?  I'd love to hear your comments below!

Happy Monday,
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1 comment

  1. Love this, especially since you had them study and use organic. :)
    Ms. K/1 ELL


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