Shopping in the Name of Math:
Fifth Grade Stores Were Open for Business at PVC
The “Fifth Grade Stores” program is a 20+ year tradition that brings together math, economics, entrepreneurism, and a little retail therapy. Students earn “money” throughout the year for completing their assigned jobs and get to spend their earnings at the student-designed stores twice a year.
In addition to being a customer, each student opens their own shop to sell goods or services. Ideas range from photobooths and temporary tattoos to custom-made ceramics, greeting cards, jewelry, candles, and so much slime. Principal Plotkin shared that students approach their shops differently, “some ideas are based on a personal interest, others are based on what they think their prospective customers want to buy.”
Students showed enormous creativity and pride in merchandising their products. Some even built in retail incentives such as a ‘gift with purchase” or bonus raffle.
Back to math! Before they begin shopping, each student is provided a balance sheet and the amount they can spend. Students are required to solve the equations for each transaction before they can complete their purchase. Once the transaction is approved by a teacher, they receive a check to write to the store. Shop owners keep a log of transactions and provide their customers with receipts.
Students were stocking up on Father’s Day gifts, fidgets, stickers, and, of course, slime for summer. Fifth-grade math teacher Lauren Doherty explained how this program is a perfect ending to the school year. “They are putting everything they learned into action and seeing the real-world application of the math they learned this year,” she said.