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Students use math skills at class store

Students Alyssa Ehnert and Hannah Bunnell get their dresses ready for the class store and eventually to donate to the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store. SUBMITTED PHOTO

“Not everything that counts can be counted,” claimed Albert Einstein.

Led by these words of wisdom, Detroit Lakes Middle School’s sixth grade math teachers Jess Stuewe and Steve Zamzo created a project that really, truly counts.

Not only will students learn the math skills of using decimals and percentages in a real life scenario, but students will also have fun learning.  That’s what really counts.

Starting in April, students were asked to bring in an article of clothing from home to donate to a class store. The clothes found a new home hung on racks in the sixth grade classrooms. Students priced their donation using decimals, then eagerly awaited the big sale.

With an imaginary budget of $200, students picked three different tops, two bottoms and a pair of shoes. Using a tree diagram, they figured out the different outfit combinations they could create.

During this process, students practiced adding and subtracting decimals and what percentage of their budget they used. Reeling in even more reality, students then figured out the sales tax on their newly purchased possessions. 

In case students hadn’t learned enough already, they also turned percents into decimals and decimals into fractions (ordering them from least to greatest).

Einstein was right: “Not everything that counts can be counted.” This well devised lesson grows exponentially. Remember all those clothes that were brought in by students? 

At the end of this math unit, those clothes will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store in Detroit Lakes. It’s just another way this considerate group of sixth grade students has chosen to help the community.