Essential question: Given a specific budget, how can you maximize a grade level’s funds for playground supplies?


  • Students work in small groups of 3-4. Each group selects a grade level to focus on or teacher assigns one. Students are given a fixed amount to spend on playground supplies for the grade level. Students must determine the most effective way to spend their funds without going over their budget.
  • Students must provide both an estimated cost for their supplies and the actual cost list of what they would buy. They must show the mathematics involved in computing the estimated sum and actual sum of their expenditures. The sum may not exceed the stated budget.
  • In addition to computing the sum, they must also demonstrate, using subtraction, that they remained within their budget (e.g. subtract their selected items from the stated budget amount).
  • Students present their proposals to and receive feedback from panel of stakeholders (e.g. grade level teacher(s), principal, other students).
  1. Kicking the project off:
  • Grade level teachers or principal presents budget issues for playground supplies spending to class. They request students’ feedback for next year’s budget.
2. Resources:
  • contact (e.g. email) teachers at assigned grade levels at different sites for input on equipment needs
  • Each team is assigned 2 classes. Students create a survey and survey their classes regarding playground equipment preferences. Students need to show results of the survey e.g. graph results.
  • use the survey information from each class to determine the fraction of each class interested each equipment type on the survey. Total the fraction results from both classes for each category.
This data must be used to determine what equipment is purchased.

  • teacher provides web sites for costing (TBD). Teacher provides rules for restricting use of “carts” on website or other resources for determining total cost.
  • the teacher may provide calculators and a method for computing the sales tax since this will involve decimal multiplication.
3. Final product:
  • formal presentation of their proposal in an appropriate format
  • presentation is evaluated based on student-created rubric by project stakeholders

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