A lot tends to go out the window at the end of the school year. You and your class have worked your hardest for 180 days (give or take), and are getting ready to wind down for a well-deserved summer break. Of course that comes with the fun of an end-of-year party.
But just because it’s party time doesn’t mean learning has to go out the window, does it? An end-of-year party is the perfect chance to give students a little bit of responsibility and some important life lessons – to do with math, of course!
Real World Mathematics – It’s Party Time!
An end-of-year party provides oodles of opportunity to explore mathematics embedded in a real-world context.
It’s the perfect occasion to explore the following curriculum concepts:
Just think about all the thought and planning you put into giving your kids a super send-off. Don’t let the measuring, counting, calculating, and coordinating that a party requires go to waste!
Instead, take some of the burden off your shoulders, and task your students with the job of planning the class party, either all together or in groups. Allowing students to organize the food and equipment for a party enables them to develop the skills of financial literacy, calculating and comparing of prices, and measuring and coordinating of supplies. The best part – they are rewarded at the end of the day by enjoying the fruits of their labor!
So how do turn the end-of-year party into a math-stravaganza?
We have a range of resources that can help students of all ages enjoy a well-deserved celebration while maximizing learning opportunities!
Money and Financial Mathematics
Before planning begins, review the concept of money with our Money and Financial Mathematics resources. Sure, you covered this earlier in the year, but this is a great way to give those brains a little refresher before they’re off on summer break … and trying to scrounge together quarters from the couch to buy a Popsicle from the ice cream truck.
Students can review the basics of money, before practicing problem-solving with our Pandora’s Party Palace Math – Lower Years, Middle Years,or Upper Years Activity, which allows differentiation through its pricing structure.
Print a class set on sturdy cardstock to use during math group activities, or focus on one problem at a time as a whole class — you can even project it onto the whiteboard to save paper. Alternatively, give students a copy of a task card to glue into their journal to solve independently. Provide students with a set of answer cards to check their work.
Younger students, in particular, will find value in our Shopping Catalog with Worksheet where they calculate and compare costs for a number of common grocery items.
Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
For older students, our enriching Decimals and Percentages Math Investigation – Prepare to Party is the perfect end-of-year activity to help your students grow their knowledge of decimals and percentages.
In this investigation, students must use their knowledge and understanding of decimals and percentages to plan an end-of-year celebration for their class. The party plan must adhere to a budget agreed to by the class, as well as a set of conditions laid down by the teacher. The students must use the party supplies catalog provided to select food, party decorations, and serving supplies for the celebration, then record the costs on the worksheets provided.
Once they’ve completed the fictional party planning investigation, they’ll be ready to plan their own class party!
If needed, check out our other decimals and percentages resources before taking on this investigation:
Units of Measurement
Once students are thinking financially, they will nearly be ready to plan the party! Before they can do that, they need to know exactly how long the party will last, and how much of each supply they will need.
Prompt student thinking with the following questions:
- How many people will be at the party?
- How long do you think the party should last?
- How much food do you think each person can eat during the party?
- How much drink do you think people will want to drink?
- Do you think there will be activities other than eating and drinking? How about party games or watching a movie?
Use our Measurement resources to help students consolidate their understanding of capacity and measurement.
If each student drinks one cup of drink, and a cup holds 4 fl oz, how many 1 pint bottles of drink will we need?
Students can plan a schedule for the party, and organize the amount of food, drink, and party supplies they will need to purchase.
Some parents may prefer providing something homemade for the party – if this is the case, you may like to ask students to calculate the cost of the ingredients into the budget.
An End of Term Party – A Healthy Alternative
I’m well aware that the days of allowing our students to ply themselves with junk food are far behind us.
There is a lot of attention these days on providing healthy alternatives to the normal sugar and fat-laden treats (and rightly so). Any teacher who has taught the principles of a balanced diet knows that it’s easy for this to go out the window when planning a party.
Don’t worry! Ensuring you are giving your students a well-deserved celebratory experience is easy without compromising on health.
Encourage your students to make healthy choices with our Food and Diet resources.
Ask your students to brainstorm what would make a more ‘healthy’ alternative to the food most commonly associated with parties. Our Healthy Eating Resource Pack contains plenty of thought-provoking activities to encourage healthy eating! Your class can examine the Eat Well Guide Poster and decide on what they need to do to eat well!
The Decimals and Percentages Math Investigation – Prepare to Party allows students to choose from a few healthy options.
Here are some healthy alternatives that we love in the Teach Starter office:
- fruit platter/ veggie sticks
- sugar-free salsa and tortilla crisps
If you do decide to spoil your class with a few sweet treats, why not try some of our Active Game Resources to help them burn off their energy? Everyone loves party games!
Putting it All Together!
Once your students know just how much they need for the party, they can organize a shopping list. Give them a budget, and get them to work!
Sales flyers from local supermarkets are a great resource when it comes to students finding supplies for the party. Photocopy the pages and blank out the discount prices to give them an extra challenge for comparing prices and figuring out discounts.
For younger students, it’s a great idea to scaffold this activity by creating a ‘catalog’ of items that you’ve taken from real catalogs from local supermarkets.
Many supermarkets also offer a catalog of their complete products online. This is a great opportunity for your students to combine their IT skills with planning and budgeting.
When it comes to party day, you’ll be able to enjoy yourselves and feel satisfied that your end-of-year party has been put to good use in the classroom.