Supermarket Maths

I was browsing around my local supermarket the other day – shout out to New World Thorndon for it’s excellent craft beer selection – and realised that most of the math I’ve had to do outside of school has been in this place.

It’s a context ripe for real-world mathematical investigation – maths which will be helpful IRL (especially if you’re on tight budget).

I’ve jotted down a few rough ideas for a ‘Supermarket Maths’ unit for school. The prompts for these questions could be photos or videos you’ve taken.

How many “flosses” per pack? Price per floss? If you flossed the recommended amount, how soon would you run out?

There are a few here, but I’m sure there are more options… do you have any more ideas I can add? Leave a comment!

Supermarket Maths:

– servings per item (as per the serving size suggestions)

– calories per item and total calories per meal

– total price for a meal

– price per serving

– compare the price of items to other similar items

– price per ml or kg

– buying in bulk V buying single items

– buying little chippie packets V a big pack

– pre-cut items (ie, carrots, celery, apple slices) V normal

– working within a budget, making choices

– discounts and sales, coupons

– Fly Buys / loyalty programs – is it worth it?

– calculating GST

– cost of import items v local

– cost between different supermarket chains V cost of fuel (the cheapest, the most expensive)

– online shopping – is it cheaper?

– going to the local farmers market (+petrol) – is it cheaper?

– charting the cost of fruit / vegetables through the seasons

– Christmas Club, how much do you save?

– What % do farmers make / distributors etc.

– could you grow it for cheaper?

– the cost of plastic bags V buying reusable

– cheapest / healthiest meals you can make for a day / week

– fuel vouchers – how much can you save?

Supermarket Maths – Statistics:

– What’s the best checkout to choose?

– How much time do you save by going through the self-checkout?

– What is the busiest time for supermarkets?

– Price according to position on the shelf (more expensive at eye level?)

– Average distance to the bread / milk (why is the bread always at the back?)

– Time in supermarket V total purchase cost (ever noticed how there are very few windows and clocks in supermarkets?)

– Do you save money by using a shopping list?

Steinlarger

Ummm…. 15 for $31.99, 12 for $35.99?

And a few more IRL math contexts to think about:

Sport Maths

Video Game Maths

1 comment

  1. I completely agree, Matt, real-life Math.
    I am always fascinated by the way our children choose products from the shelf based on ‘taste’ rather than quantity/cost.
    Even going as far as looking at the price per kg on meat and breaking that down into portions for a family. Can you cook a dinner for 4 people with less than $10?
    Is it cheaper to buy ham from the deli or pre-packaged ham, once again looking at price per 100g etc.

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