Bargain maths

10th June 2005 at 01:00
Ideas and inspiration across the curriculum

Children in upper primary school often become unmotivated by maths. A free alternative resource is the "special offers" flyer which frequently lands on my doormat courtesy of the local corner shop and supermarket.

These eye-catching leaflets advertising bargain deals are readily available and if friends and neighbours can't supply enough copies to go round, the shops often have more.

Handing out these flyers, I challenge the children to shop for special events such as parties or barbecues, giving each group a budget and a defined task.

Children can work in mixed-ability groups, and a competitive element may be introduced if appropriate. For example, which group can lay on the best spread of party food using the offers on the leaflet for less than pound;20?

Besides showing why maths is relevant, the activities can also be used to stretch different abilities, ranging from simple addition and subtraction to comparing the original prices with the discounted offers in terms of percentages.

More able children might set questions for others, on the proviso that they can come up with solutions to the problems they devise. It doesn't matter that there isn't an answer book - the "correct" answer is rarely relevant as it quickly becomes secondary to the motivation and enjoyment of the pupils.

Anne Watson

Class teacher (temporary), Markinch Primary School, Fife

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today