Math in the produce section

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Katrina and David Dayton help Isabella Dayton weigh a potato during Family Math Night at the Holland Road Food Lion Tuesday. Scores of parent-student teams attended the fun event.

Katrina and David Dayton help Isabella Dayton weigh a potato during Family Math Night at the Holland Road Food Lion Tuesday. Scores of parent-student teams attended the fun event.

For Kilby Shores Elementary School parent Sharon Gregory, the chance to improve her daughter’s practical math skills and do the grocery shopping all at once was too good to pass up.

Gregory and fourth-grader Darbi were among scores of parent-student teams at Holland Road Food Lion Tuesday for its second Family Math Night.

“I’m adding up to see how much I can spend,” Darbi said. Her mom explained, “She can’t go over $20.”

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

The math lesson “is a good idea,” Sharon Gregory continued, “because it shows the kids the value of money. They have $20, and they have to make it go a long way.”

Bringing the classroom to the grocery store is one way of getting parents more involved in their children’s education, said Karen Jones, a counselor at Kilby Shores.

Separate lessons were designed for first through fifth grades, with each parent-student team selecting the appropriate worksheet before heading down the aisles.

Examples of lessons included, for first grade, estimating which produce section items weigh more, and then using scales to learn the correct answer.

Second-grade students used “greater than” and “less than” symbols in a “mathematical sentence” to compare prices of Cocoa Puffs and Rice Crispies.

“As the students get older, the lessons get a little harder,” Jones said. “It’s all related to items in the store (and) how we use math in the real world.”

Food Lion also encouraged participation and a little bit of competition with $45 gift cards, said Stephanie Bell, the store’s customer service manager.

“Most of the time, they have to stop and get something on the way home,” she said in explanation of the large number of parents and children who dropped in.

Sharon Gregory said she was going to pick a few things up, adding that Darbi is “my little helper; she comes with me every (weekend) to buy groceries.”

Katrina and David Dayton were there with first-grader Isabella Dayton. “It makes it more realistic than just trying to do numbers in the abstract,” David Dayton said, hoisting Isabella up to the scales to weigh a potato.

“It’s more useful, so I think they remember more. It’s like a game, and kind of like a field trip.”

The store is Kilby Shores’ education partner. It’s “wonderful to have families doing something together in this day and age, when families are all over the place,” Jones said.