Written by Emma (Teach Starter)
Posted Wednesday November 28, 2018
It’s that time of year! You and your class have worked your hardest for the entire term (or year, for our Australian teachers!) and are getting ready to wind down for a well-deserved Christmas break.
As part of the ‘wind-down’ process, you can’t go past the beloved and time-honoured tradition of an end of term party!
When I was a student in primary school, the end of term party was all we talked about for weeks approaching the holidays. Would you bring sweet or savoury treats? Who would provide the drinks? Would it be homemade or store bought? And the most important question…would the teacher order pizza?
But an end of term party doesn’t have to be just about the amazing food!
An end of term party is the perfect chance to give students a little bit of responsibility and some important life lessons – to do with Numeracy, of course!
Real World Mathematics – It’s Party Time!
An end of term 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:
Don’t let the measuring, counting, calculating and coordinating a party requires go to waste!
Task your students with the job of planning the class party, either all together or in groups. Allowing students to organise the food and equipment for a party enables them to develop the skills of financial responsibility, 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 labour!
We have a range of resources that can help students of all ages enjoy a well-deserved celebration while maximising learning opportunities.
Money and Financial Mathematics
Before planning begins, review the concept of money with our Money and Financial Mathematics resources.
Students can review the basics of Australian money, before practising problem-solving with our Pandora’s Party Palace Maths – Lower Years, Middle Years or Upper Years Activity, which allows differentiation through its pricing structure.
Print, cut and laminate a class set to use during maths group activities or focus on one problem at a time as a whole class. Alternatively, give students a copy of a task card to glue into their books to solve independently. Provide students with a set of answer cards to check their working out.
Younger students, in particular, will find value in our Shopping Catalogue 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 Maths Investigation – Prepare to Party is the perfect end of term 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 catalogue provided to select food, party decorations and serving supplies for the celebration, then record all costings 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 go for, 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 go for?
- 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 Units of Measurement resources to help students with timetabling the party and consolidating their understanding of capacity and measurement.
If each student drinks one cup of drink, and a cup holds 240mls, how many 1.25L bottles of drink will we need?
Students can plan a schedule for the party, and organise the amount of food, drink and party supplies they will need to purchase.
It’s understandable that 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. Our fun resource My Recipe Rules – Measurement Worksheet is a great pre-cursor to this activity!
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 Maths 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
- yogurt station with add-ins such as nuts (watch for allergies!), cut up fruit, and cereal
- savoury mixed sandwiches.
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 organise a shopping list. Give them a budget and get them to work!
Catalogues 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 ‘catalogue’ of items that you’ve taken from real catalogues from local supermarkets.
Many supermarkets also offer a catalogue of their complete products online – this is a great opportunity for your students to combine their IT skills with planning and budgeting.
Once students have worked out how much they need and how much it will cost, ask parents to contributes a couple of dollars to the ‘party fund’. Some parents may even volunteer to organise the collection and go shopping for you!
When it comes to party day, you’ll be able to enjoy yourselves and feel satisfied that your end of term party has been put to good use in the classroom.
What do you do to celebrate the end of term? Comment below to let us know!
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