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Shopping the
Sunday Circular


  • Ed Technology
  • Mathematics
    --Applied Math


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Collect and organize price-per-unit data using grocery store circulars found online or in a newspaper.


Students will
  • demonstrate an understanding of price-per-unit mathematics.
  • accurately figure the price per unit of grocery store items.
  • graph the price comparison they complete.


compare, comparison, shopping, unit pricing, unit, measurement, graphing, consumer, money

Materials Needed

  • grocery store circulars from the local newspaper
  • paper, pencil, graphing materials
  • Internet access to sites such as SundaySaver.com and the Create a Graph tool (optional)
  • graphing software (optional)

The Lesson

Share with students one of the grocery store circulars often found as a supplement to the local newspaper.

Explain to students how they can find the unit price of many items in the circular. The unit price is the price per unit of measurement. For example, a 16-ounce can of corn might sell for 80 cents. The price for 1 ounce (one measuring unit) of the corn would be 5 cents. Share with students how to determine the price per unit of an item.

In the case of the can or corn, students might divide the price of one can of corn (80 cents) by the number of units (16 ounces or 16 units) in that can to determine the price per unit.

Presented in another way, students might represent the above problem as an algebraic equation:

80/16 = x/1
16x = 80
x = 5

Provide time for students to practice solving several similar per-unit problems. That can be done with paper and pencil or a calculator. Students should round their answers to the nearest hundredth.

Now students are ready to use an actual store circular to solve specific problems. You might photocopy a page from the circular for students to use; or students might use circulars for several stores that are available online at SundaySaver.com.

Have students make a chart and record the following information:

  • the item (including brand name)
  • the store
  • the price
  • the size
  • the cost per unit

Extension Activities

  • Have students make price comparisons for like items at different stores. Then have them use the price-comparison information to create a bar graph illustrating the cost per unit of the items at various stores.
  • Challenge students to write a television commercial for the store with the best overall prices.
  • Incorporate a health lesson by comparing items from each food group or foods in a healthy meal.


Assess students' charts and/or graphs for neatness and accuracy.

Submitted By

Amy Wheaton, Foley Intermediate School in Foley, Alabama.

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