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# Learning Mathematics - Activities for the Grocery Store: Grades 3-4 (page 3)

U.S. Department of Education
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

### Check It Out Grades 3-4

 Grocery shopping can be a good place to show children a practical use for calculators—for example, as a way to keep a running total of what the groceries cost.

The checkout lane of a grocery store can be a good place for children to practice using mental math by estimating the cost of groceries and figuring out change.

What to Do

• As you wait in a grocery checkout lane, use the time to have your child estimate what the total cost of your groceries will be. Tell him that one easy way to estimate a total is to round off numbers. That is, if an item cost 98 cents, round it off to \$1. Explain that the answer he gets won't be the exact cost, but it will be about that. Tell him that the word about shows that the amount you say is just an estimate.
• Using the estimated total, ask your child: "If the groceries cost \$16 and I have a \$20 bill, how much change should the checker give back to me? If the cost is \$17.25, what coins is she likely to give me?
• At the checkout counter, ask your child to watch as the items are rung up. What's the actual total cost of the groceries? How does this amount compare to the estimate? When you pay for the items, will you get change back from your \$20 bill, or will you have to give the checker more money?
• If you receive change, have your child count it to make sure the amount is correct.

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### Put It Away Grades 1-5

 Children can often make up very creative rules for classifying things. Don't be surprised if you have trouble guessing your child's rule!

Putting away groceries helps children develop classifying and mathematical reasoning skills and the ability to analyze data.

What You Need

• Groceries

What to Do

• Make a game out of putting away groceries. As you empty the bags, group the items according to some common feature. You might, for example, put together all the items that go in the refrigerator or all the items in cans.
• Tell your child that you're going to play "Guess My Rule." Explain that in this game, you sort the items and she has to guess what rule you used for grouping the items.
• After your child catches on to the game, reverse roles and ask her to use another "rule" to group these same items. She might, for example, group the refrigerator items into those that are in glass bottles or jars and those in other kinds of packaging. She might group the cans into those with vegetables, those with fruit and those with soup. When she's regrouped the items, guess what rule she used.

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