“I read an article in a magazine about a school in another state that had done this,” said fourth-grade math teacher Mary Beth Stephens. “I thought it would be a great opportunity for our kids to see that learning takes place everywhere, not just in the classroom. It also gives the parents a chance to see how the learning in class ties into everyday situations. This [Food Lion] is a perfect place because you can use so many math skills.”
At first principal Nancy Summey was skeptical.
“When she first came to me, I was a little apprehensive because we’ve never done this before,” Summey said. “But I have been looking for ways to involve parents. We want parents to see how their children’s classroom work applies to everyday lives.”
Upon arriving at the supermarket, the students were given an assignment appropriate to their grade level.
Kindergartners and first-graders were assigned to match shapes like circles, squares or triangles. Others were given rulers and told to measure items in the produce section that were certain measurements.
“We were able to integrate fractions, division and measurements and integrate those skills all in one question,” Stephens said.
Fifth-graders were given a budget and assigned to plan a meal according to their budget.
Both Summey and Stephens agreed the night was a big success.
“This is even better than we imagined,” Summey said. “In fact the store manager said that a couple of other schools had done something similar but their attendance was nothing like this. We definitely will do this again.”
Third-grader Emily Hatch thought the entire thing was “real fun.”
“My favorite thing was doing the math,” she said. “I’m gonna help my parents buy groceries from now on.”