Shopping for answers

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By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

“How much do four golden delicious apples weigh? How many lemons would it take to have pound?” Do those sound like those dreaded math questions we had to calculate in grade school?

Students from Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary School were recently put to the test to answer questions like these but text books were only part of the equation and kids went shopping. Second- and third-graders, and their parents, were invited to the new Publix Supermarket at Canopy Oaks for “math night.”

Carol Runge, home school family liaison and organizer of the activity, called math night a parent and child activity. There were more than 300 people at the event, which included students, parents, and siblings. “It has been overwhelming,” she said of the family response.

Each child was given an age-appropriate test made up of various math problems. To answer the questions, the students had to search the different aisles of the large grocery store to find the products mentioned in the problem.

The activity gave the students an opportunity to learn life skills like reading product labels while practicing arithmetic skills. Second grade teacher, Vilma Nieves, said the night gives students some hands-on practice with math.

Gary Degraff agreed. He brought his daughter, Reanne, a third-grader, to the event. Gary said the activity gives the children a “real life experience,” instead of only learning skills from a book.

Reanne said she wanted to come to the out-of-classroom activity to “learn more about math.” In the process, she learned some things about Publix also, like how the grocery chain stocks the shelves in categories.

Fruit Loops or Cheerios?

Like Reanne, fellow student Jacob Ambrosia said he wanted to discover more about math.

Jacob walked the aisles with his mother, Jen, and his younger sister. A question on his test brought them to the cereal aisle, where he had to read the labels to answer the question.

He had to figure out if Fruit Loops or multi-grain Cheerios had less sugar. After a few moments and after making some calculations, he discovered that the fruity-flavored cereal had 11 more grams of sugar than the multi-grain.

Leaving the cereals, the family headed over to the produce section for another couple of questions before completing the test. Once the children finished their test, the students went over to the pharmacy department to have their exam graded by Hammett Bowen teachers.

And, on their way out the door, each student received a bag filled with goodies like crayons, balloons and an activity book as well as a piece of cake.

Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary School created three different math night events for various grades at the school.

Contact Amy Ryffel-Kragh at 854-3986 or e-mail akragh@newsrlsmc.com.