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Lesson Plan

Authentic Writing Experiences and Math Problem-Solving Using Shopping Lists

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Authentic Writing Experiences and Math Problem-Solving Using Shopping Lists

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Devon Hamner

Devon Hamner

Grand Island, Nebraska


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • discuss shopping lists and budgets.

  • create their own shopping lists to prepare for a visit to the class store.

  • work within a specific budget.

  • use their list to buy items at the class store.

  • reflect upon their problem-solving process.

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Session One

  1. Share books with a money theme with your students. Bennyís Pennies by Pat Brisson is a good text to introduce this activity. You may want to make a classroom set of books for students to explore and share. (See the list provided.)

  2. Allow students time to visit the Websites listed below, such as the United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Changeô Pals Cartoons or Welcome to Market Student Interactive, from EconEdLink. Follow the Money! by Loreen Leedy and Let's Find Out About Money by Kathy Barabas are goodcompanion books to the Website about how money is made at the mint.

  3. Introduce students to the concept of making a list before going to the store. Encourage them to brainstorm why people make grocery lists. Such a list might include some of the following reasons:

    • To replace some of the items you are almost out of and know you will soon need.

    • To get supplies you need to make meals for your family.

    • To get items you donít have, but need.

    • To get what you need for a party or special event.

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Session Two

  1. Bring a simple version of your grocery list from home. Discuss why you have certain items on the list. Also include a discussion of budgets and how you have to know about how much the items will cost so you take the right amount of money with you to the store.

  2. Encourage students to share their experiences with making lists and going to the store.

  3. Look at ads from grocery stores and see how items and prices are displayed in the ads. Older students may want to compare prices from different stores.

  4. Introduce the students to the class store by showing them a list of the items to be sold and the cost of the items. Posters with pictures of the items and the cost work well with younger students.

  5. Explain that each student will be given ten cents to spend at the store. They may each choose any items they wish to buy with that money, but they must stay within their budget.

  6. Explain that they will each create their own shopping lists which should contain the items to be purchased (What to buy?), the number of each item (How many?), and the amount spent (Cost?).

  7. Hand out the list forms or paper and allow students to write their lists. Alternatively, students can devise their own forms. Students should have the option of using a mixture of drawings and words to make their lists.
    Example from a studentís list:
    przls 2 2 cnts
    cooke 1 5 cnts
    MM 3 3 cents

    I spnt 10 cnts.

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Session Three

  1. Give each student 10 cents to spend at the store and time to revise and finish their lists. For younger students just learning the concept of money, it works best to use 10 pennies so they can use their list form to actually put the pennies in the cost column and check to see that they didnít spend more than their budget. Older students may be able to use either two nickels or a dime.

  2. Conference with students to help them check their lists to see that they are within their budget.

  3. Students may go to the store, buy items using their lists, and pay for them.

  4. Allow time for the best part: eating the purchases and celebrating the activity.

  5. Use the reflection form(s) for students to reflect on the activity and discuss it.

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Students can complete the questions on the reflection sheet in writing or during a class discussion using one enlarged copy where student reflections are gathered.

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