‘Now I can help with the groceries’
Published 8:58 am Saturday, January 17, 2015
S.P. Morton elementary students learn math at Food Lion
She had to feed her family, and she had just $20 to do it. Mesha Bullock, 10, was at Food Lion on Thursday evening, trying to come up with a menu involving all of the five food groups, while also trying to save a little cash for dessert.
“So I have to spend under $20 on fruit, vegetables, meat or beans, grains, milk, and hopefully dessert,” she said. “I have to have two of each.”
Such was the task for S.P. Morton Elementary School fifth-graders on the second annual Family Math Night at the Franklin Food Lion.
“It provides a great opportunity for the kids to do something with their parents and to engage in an authentic real world experience using math skills,” said SPM teacher Liz Burgess, who helped organize it. “We love this event. It’s a wonderful community collaboration between Food Lion and the school system.”
And the experience for each grade level was different. While the fifth-graders were budgeting, Bright Starts children, such as Addie Maynard, 4, were counting labels of various colors. One of her tasks was tracking down one thing that has a blue label.
At first, she found some canned vegetables with a blue label, but then she also found a sports drink that not only had a blue label, but the liquid was also blue.
“I want to count that one,” Addie pointed at the sports drink. “It’s fun. It’s fun looking everywhere and finding stuff.”
Third-graders, meanwhile, were trying to figure out how much items, such as fruit, weighed, and they were also comparing costs. Michael Conner, 9, was trying to calculate the difference between the cost of manufacturer soft drinks and the Food Lion equivalent.
“It’s fun that we get to go on an adventure around Food Lion and answer my questions,” he said. “I like doing math — all of it. But this is better.”
His sister, Elizabeth Conner, 17, a senior at Franklin High School, was helping him out.
“I like that the schools work with local stores like this,” she said. “I also like that they are getting to do some real world application of math.”
SPM teacher Cherie Karmilovich said her children have been very excited, but that the event also emphasized a broader point.
“I think that it’s very important for children to constantly be learning,” she said. “They need to learn math, not just in the classroom, but they need to use it in the real world.”
And at least one of Melissa Mabry’s first-graders would definitely be using math from now on in at least one way outside of the classroom.
“Now, she said that she’d be able to help her mom with the family’s grocery shopping,” she said. “This event is a good idea. It’s all about the kids.”
Another fifth-grader, Takevion Hall, 10, said this application of math helped him put one concept into perspective.
“It really helped me to learn,” Takevion said. “It helped me most with decimals.”
Lisa Roth, the department manager in produce, helped ready her department for the arrival of the children, such as cutting up the apples.
“They look like they are really enjoying it,” she said. “It was definitely all worth it. Next year, I might take the night off so that I can bring my kids.”
Lamont Garbin took his nephew Rashaad Bellamy, 8, a second-grader. Rashaad said he was actually enjoying doing math, and Garbin thought that it was good to spend time with him.
“It is a good event for young kids to learn about things,” he said, adding that they weren’t just getting math skills. “It’s a hands-on approach to what it’s like spending money in the real world.”
As far as the real world goes — for Mesha — the vegetable decision was easy, as radishes and squash were 99 cents a pound. Fruit got a little tougher, as blueberries, strawberries or raspberries would have taken a big hit out of her $20 budget. She eventually settled on apples being one of her fruits, but was having trouble with a second.
“Being on a budget is tough — you can only get what’s cheapest,” Mesha said, but she admitted it made math more engaging. “I like math a lot more this way. It’s fun to figure it out.”