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Math Meets Entrepreneurship in Third Grade

by the BFS Third Grade Teachers 
Exploration and Imagination in Math

We are winding down our significant math unit on larger addition and subtraction.  In this unit we introduced addition and subtraction stacking,  choosing efficient strategies based on the numbers, and word problems. We capitalize on 3rd graders love of play, exploration and imagination to make this a fun and rich educational experience.

Our T-Shirt Marketplace in Action!

Place Value, Stacking and T-Shirts

To explore place value and set ourselves up to understand stacking, we have adapted a math unit from Contexts for Learning called The T-Shirt Factory.  Math Specialist Kate Minear wrote a detailed post about the beginning of this unit here. This year we added a t-shirt market place, where children bought and sold index-card t-shirts across the three third grade classrooms, an engaging way to practice “trading” and “reorganizing” shirts and provide an accessible context for stacking.

Our shoppers are lined up and ready!
Our t-shirt marketplace sellers ready to welcome their buyers!

Word Problems, Addition and Subtraction Strategies and the Pet Store

After practicing efficient problem solving, children put these skills to further use in our “pet store.” Our pet store consisted of displays of pets and supplies that were pictured along with confused looking teachers whose thought bubbles showed them puzzling over prices.  Kids interpreted the problems choosing appropriate operations and strategies to figure out the answer.  Much to their delight, third graders then invented their own pet store problems: drawing creative displays of cats, dogs, armadillos, sharks, saber toothed tigers and their supplies.  They posed great questions that encouraged their peers to work with challenging numbers.