My Favorite: Holidays at Target

myfav

Here we are in Week 2 of the ExploreMTBoS 2016 Blogging Initiative! This week’s challenge is to blog about one of my favorite things. During this school year, one of my favorite things has been visiting Target during the holidays. The holiday-themed merchandise is rich with mathematical possibilities! I already wrote three posts about a treasure trove of images from Halloween:

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and I snapped some photos this evening to share with you. I’m going to cover a range of mathematical skills – mostly centered around estimation –  from Kinder through about Grade 6 to show you just how versatile this stuff is!

These first two images are good for estimating quantity. You can estimate the quantities individually. Don’t forget to ask students to estimate an answer that is TOO HIGH and one that is TOO LOW in addition to their actual estimate. Coming up with a reasonable range takes a lot of practice! You could also show students both images at the same time and ask, “Which package has more?”

I forgot to snap a picture of the answers, but I can tell you there are 15 bouncy balls and 24 eraser rings.

Here’s another one. How many Kisses are in the box?

IMG_2053

I was kind of surprised that the answer wasn’t an even number like 10 or 12. This just seems oddly specific.

KissesHeart-Reveal

Students tend to estimate better when the quantities are smaller. Here’s a larger quantity package to up the challenge a bit. How many gumballs are in the bag?

Gumballs-Estimate

I was kind of surprised to find out the answer myself.

Gumballs-Reveal

This next one is tricky! How many truffles are in the box? Go ahead and make an estimate.

TruffleHeart-Estimate

Now that you’ve made your estimate, I’d like to show you how deceptive product packaging can be. Would you like to revise your estimate?

TruffleHeart-NewInfo

And now for the reveal. How does your estimate compare to the actual amount?

TruffleHeart-Reveal

The first few images dealt with disorganized quantities. Once we move into organization, the thinking can extend into multiplicative reasoning. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to! Students can find the total by counting by 1s, skip counting, and/or using multiplication.

There are several questions you can ask about these pictures. They’re of the same box. I just gave different perspective. I’d probably show the almost-front view first to see what kids think before showing the top-down view.

  • How many boxes of chocolate were in the case when it was full?
  • How many boxes of chocolate are left?
  • How many boxes of chocolate are gone?

Here’s another package that could prove a bit tricky for some students. How many heart stickers are in this package?

HeartStickers-Estimate

Students might notice that the package says 2 sheets. If they don’t, you might show them the package from a different perspective.HeartStickers-NewInfo

And finally, you can reveal the total.

HeartStickers-Reveal

This next package can be shown one of two ways depending on how much challenge you want to provide the students. Even with some of the hearts covered, students can still reason about the total quantity.

This next one could simply be used to ask how many squares of chocolate are in the box, but what I’d really like to know is how many ounces/grams of chocolate are in the box.

ChocoSquares-Estimate

After some estimating, you could show your students this and let them flex their decimal computation skills to find the total.

ChocoSquares-One

However, the reveal is likely to raise some eyebrows.

And finally, you can do some more decimal calculations with this final product. How much would it cost to buy all of the boxes shown?

BigHeart-Estimate

And if you bought all 6 boxes, how many ounces of chocolate would you be getting?

BigHeart-Estimate2

Ten minutes in the holiday aisle and my iPhone are all it took to gather this wealth of math questions can now be shared with students. Even better, I didn’t have to purchase any of these products! Even better than that, I can go back for every major holiday to capture new images that will feel timely and relevant!

By the way, feel free to use any and all of these images with your own students. They’re fairly low quality so I don’t recommend printing them, but they should look just fine projected or shown on a screen.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

8 thoughts on “My Favorite: Holidays at Target

    1. bstockus Post author

      My pleasure! I enjoy walking the aisles looking for interesting packages to snap pictures of. If I had a class of my own, I would love for students to start bringing in their own examples to share with the class.

      Reply
  1. Denise

    Thank you for sharing your great idea. I work with K-5 teachers and you showed how practical it can be for any grade level. Can’t wait to go to Target myself!

    Reply
    1. bstockus Post author

      My pleasure! It’s definitely fun to look at a package and think about all the different math skills from K-5 that can be used to describe and talk about it.

      Reply
  2. trustyourselfmath

    That’s amazing! I go to Target all the time and I never stop to look at the little math things that I could do with my students to show them math is in our lives everyday! Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  3. chadtlowermath

    Other than the fact that I am a diehard Walmart guy (boo Target!), I love the ideas you presented here. Although you don’t *have* to buy anything, you could always go back after the holiday and see what’s left for 50% off to treat your kiddos.

    As a side note, I did get the number of Kisses correct, but most everything else I guessed low for the disorganized quantities. Maybe I am just too used to the “deceptive packaging” you mentioned, and a pessimist to boot!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Inspiration | Teaching to the Beat of a Different Drummer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s