Project Based Math Learning: The Flea Market

By Jenna Richter | February 10, 2016 | Mathematics, Uncategorized

We have been studying money in our small math groups.  Through games and activities, children have learned the denominations of coins, how to count them by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s, addition and subtraction.

We use real money so that the size, weight and appearance can help the children learn to distinguish them.  We have sorted, counted, estimated, and worked with basic calculations as a part of our unit.  See our Lab Note:  Math with Money at http://www.discoverylabellensburg.com/math-with-money/

Because using The Project Approach means giving the children opportunities to use what they are learning in a real world way and following their interest, we developed the idea buying and selling.    For the past few weeks, we have practiced paying each other for classroom materials with our class change jar, making change and counting up our profits.

We decided to set up a class Flea Market.  Each student was invited to bring a small bag of items to sell as well as two dollars in change to spend at the market.

In preparation for purchasing at the market, I set up a Valentine Mailbox Supply store.  Each student had a $.75 allowance to spend on items to decorate a box for our upcoming Valentine celebration.  This gave everyone an opportunity to look at a budget, prioritize items they would like to purchase, and practice using money to pay.

I had items priced by the yard, by the item or for a group of items.
I had items priced by the yard, by the item or for a group of items.

 

Everyone took turns buying items until they had everything they needed for the project.

Boden chose a yard of crepe paper and foam heart stickers. Finn splurged on the more expensive heart tissue paper for his project.
Boden chose a yard of crepe paper and foam heart stickers. Finn splurged on the more expensive heart tissue paper for his project.

 

The next day, I brought the items I planned to peddle at my flea market booth.  The class sorted and helped me to price the items.  They determined the price of the items based on it’s perceived value.  A Lego Chima book was worth more than a Christmas Penguin book.

Louie helped to affix the price tags to the merchandise.
Louie helped to affix the price tags to the merchandise.

 

We talked about how much money I would make if I sold all of the items and counted up my potential profit.

Harlow counted by tens the amount my dime cars could make.
Harlow counted by tens the amount my dime cars could make.

 

Flea Market Day had finally  arrived!  We could barely make it through our morning meeting as everyone was so excited to get their booth set up and do some shopping.  We set to work pricing our items and setting up our stores.

Finn pricing his goods.
Finn pricing his goods.

 

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Emmett showing Boden and Finn how you can buy helmets separately for $.05.

 

Everyone set out their items in an appealing way.  Next it was time to shop.

 

All the booths ready and open for business.
All the booths ready and open for business.

 

Louie making her first sale.
Louie making her first sale.

 

Emmett knew his customers interests and his booth was very busy.
Emmett knew his customers interests and his booth was very busy.

 

At then end of the market, everyone had lots of new an exciting purchases and no money left, except for Emmett who only bought $.11 worth of items as a belated birthday present for his sister.

At the end of the market, Emmett counted up his profits.

 

Emmett made a chart and counted his coins by denomination then added them together.
Emmett made a chart and counted his coins by denomination then added them together.

 

We enjoyed this activity so much that we may have to revisit it on a more regular basis!  What a wonderful culmination of all of our hard work during our money unit.