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Power Problem



  • Mathematics


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Help innocent victim "Eun Plugd" recover his losses from a recent power outage caused by a snowstorm.


Students will

  • complete a simulated insurance form.
  • research prices for grocery items.
  • calculate the cost of grouped items and total damages.
  • examine their home refrigerator to calculate the loss that would be incurred if a lengthy power outage occurred.


math, computation, snow, grocery

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

A recent power outage caused by a snowstorm has left Eun Plugd with a refrigerator full of useless groceries! In this activity, students help Eun fill out an insurance form and compute his losses so that he can receive compensation.

Start this activity with a discussion of severe weather, particularly snow, and how it can affect the operation of communities and private homes. In a severe snowstorm, homes and cars and their contents can be damaged. Worse yet, a loss of electrical power can leave citizens cold and in the dark! Share the following story of Eun Plugd and his experience with a power outage:

Eun Plugd lives in a town that was recently struck by a severe snowstorm. Although his home and vehicles were saved, Eun's home was without electrical power for several days. The family kept warm by burning logs in their fireplace. When the power was restored, Eun discovered that much of the perishable food in his refrigerator had spoiled. Thankfully, Eun's insurance company will cover the cost of the items if he will submit a claim.


Distribute copies of the Power Problem Work Sheet and read the letter and instructions. Explain that Eun has filled in the items that he lost, but the students need to help him find the prices of these items and compute the totals. Students may refer to the Global Grocery List Project price list for the U.S. or find local prices in supermarket ads that you provide.

When students have had time to complete the work sheet, discuss the importance of electrical power as related to this activity. A few questions your students may address include:

  • In what ways does loss of electricity impact the operation of a home or other building?
  • What damages might Eun Plugd also seek as the result of the power outage?
  • How should power companies prioritize their repair work assignments when outages are widespread?
  • Could your school function without electrical power?
  • How important is reliable electrical power?


Extension activity:
Have students examine their own refrigerators and create an itemized list of food items that would be lost after a power outage of several days and estimate the cost of this loss. If you choose, have them price the items at a local grocery store to test the accuracy of their estimations.


Answers for chart on the Power Problem Work Sheet using records from the Global Grocery List Project for Passaic, New Jersey on December 11, 2002. (See the GGLPs "View Prices" page.)


Item Quantity Cost Total
Oranges 2 1/2 lbs. $2.10 per pound $5.25
Milk 1 gallon $2.51 per gallon $2.51
Hamburger 3 lbs. $1.27 per pound $3.81
Butter 2 lbs. $1.71 per pound $3.42
Eggs 18 $.46 each $8.28
whole chicken 2 lbs. $4.92 per pound $9.84
  Total: $33.11


Answers to additional questions on the sheet will vary.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Cara Bafile

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One Another
NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-NUM.6-8.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One Another
NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

MATHEMATICS: Measurement
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement

MATHEMATICS: Problem Solving
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-PROB.PK-12.2 Solve Problems That Arise in Mathematics and in Other Contexts

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