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In this math lesson, students learn how to save money at the grocery store with sales ads and coupons




2, 3, 4  

Title – Food Inventory Math with Grocery Sales Ads
By – Dr. Kathleen Wild
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subject –
Grade Level – 2-4

Materials Needed:

  • (1) clipboard for each student
  • (2) #2 pencils
  • (1-2) sheets of white paper
  • (1 set) grocery store sales ads per student (Ex: Bi-Rite, Giant Food, Safeway, Kroger or any food store sales ads in your area.)


  1. Instruct the students to plan a simple meal or snack.
  2. The student will focus on making up the menu on the first sheet of paper, including a list of ingredients that they will need to purchase to prepare the meal.
  3. When the students have completed their list, pass out the grocery sales ads to each student.
  4. Now the student will search through the sales ads and write down the prices of the ingredients that are on sale and how much each ingredient costs, using the dollar sign ($) or the cents sign (ยข) in preparing the list.
  5. If there is an ingredient on their list that is not on sale, they will record the amount of the item when they go to the grocery store and print it next to the ingredient on their list when they return.
  6. Now plan a trip to the grocery store with your class. If you can not take a field trip with the class, then assign the trip as homework. Again, the purpose of the trip is to locate the price of the items on the ingredients list that were not in the sale ads.
  7. When all of this is completed, then the student must add up their own list of what it will cost them to prepare each of their meals. Sometimes the ads will give a 25 cent, 50 cent or $1.00 off coupon or even “buy one get one free.” The student will add up the total and then place the coupon amount under the total and subtract the amount of each coupon. Ex: If they have a “buy one get one free” offer and a loaf of bread costs $1.39, then the student would write on the paper: coupon buy-one-get-one-free and then subtract the amount of the free item which would be $1.39.
  8. When each student has completed what it would cost to prepare each of their meals, sit in a circle in the classroom and let each of the students name ingredients and tell what they saved and what coupons were involved.
  9. The next time you have a math lesson, sit in a circle with the class and decide which one meal to prepare.
    Either go on another field trip to the grocery store or assign each student an item to bring in to contribute to the meal plan.
  10. Prepare the meal as a class and discuss if they think that the meal was economical or a good value for the money. Was it worth it?
  11. Have the students place their grocery sale ads and the two papers showing their work into an envelope or a file folder and save it in case you do this again. Then they can do a comparison and see which meal was more cost effective.


  1. This is good lesson for teaching the value of coupons, as well as the sale values of each item that is on sale.
  2. The clipboard is good to have, so that the student has something to lean against when they are writing down prices.
  3. For a variation, you could also have the students collect coupons and use small white envelopes to organize them in. Print on the front of the envelopes: Household Cleaners, Shampoo, Vegetables, Breads, Meat, Frozen Foods, etc. They could use the coupons to make math problems up or even math word problems.
  4. A student could also use the coupons to make up a “Eating Healthy” poster for health class or a “How to Use Coupons” poster for math class.

E-Mail Dr. Kathleen Wild !

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