How much math learning can come from one bucket of money? How many rich, complex and relevant questions can be asked? How many expectations and strands can be covered? How many different solutions can be shared?

On Friday, April 21st my students along with Mrs. Shaughnessy’s class held a M.A.D (Make A Difference) Yard Sale to help support then many local, national and global issues we have been studying in Social Studies. All the proceeds will be divided equally between our 45 difference makers and they, in turn, will donate the proceeds to a NGO or charity of their choice to help make a difference.

We had one large bucket full of money to count! First, we estimated the amount of money we had in bills.

While we worked on our reasonable estimates an opportunity to review fractions, decimals, percents and ratio presented itself

We also had to manage all the data, which led opportunities for selecting and creating appropriate graphs. A discussion about range, mean, median and mode ensued and interesting an opportunity to discuss multiples came up as well.

Making a reasonable prediction of the amount of change proved to be a bit more difficult so we decided to take three “test” piles.

We totalled the exact amounts in each pile. We were amazed to find that the 3 “test” piles had following money amounts: $28.80, $29.80 and $30.80. This led to a discussion about mean and median. These numbers sure made our job easy! We decided it was fair to say that an average of $30.00 would be in each of my handfuls.

Mr. C was pleased to hear many students naturally starting to ponder how many of his handfuls would be needed to empty the buckets of money! This would lead them to make a reasonable estimate! This new data led to many more rich cross strand math discussions.

It also lead to an authentic opportunity to read numbers with decimals. After much discussion and this “mistake” below, students were able to solidify their understanding of decimal amounts.

We tallied allow of our “coin estimates” and discussed “range”. We also figured out the amounts rounded to the nearest hundred.

We were finally ready to make very reasonable estimates of the TOTAL amount of money we raised.

Everyone was excited and ready to help to begin counting ALL the money. Mr.C sat back and observed the students take on a variety of roles; some counted, some stacked, others grouped, other tallied, a few calculated and others double checked.

While totalling all of the money amounts we worked on multiplying multi digit numbers with decimals. The students used a variety of strategies based on the numbers and their combinations. When all was said and done, we figured that we had raised $1891.92! It was great fun comparing our estimates to the actual totals.

Now it was time to figure out how much money each group would receive to donate to their specific charity. Between our class and Mrs. Shaughnessy’s There were 24 groups. The kids were anxious to start figuring out approximately how much money they would receive so they could begin their emails to the charities they had selected as part of their M.A.D Project!

Many students have already received thank you emails

Our kids are now incredibly excited to share their M.A.D Projects at our M.A.D Fair on May 2 so our entire St. Elizabeth School Community can learn how each one of them helped to make a difference. Below is a video of our 2016 M.A.D Fair

If you class would like to start a M.A.D Project of their own, I have shared all my Make a Difference resources on my website.

-P

Wonderful charity work, coupled with wonderful maths work!

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