Lesson Plan - Using Coupons to Teach Applied Math

The exercise is designed for students to practice their math skills by using coupons, shopping lists, and grocery shopping worksheets. Students will learn about budgeting, how math skills are applied in day-to-day living, the value of money, and they will gain experience in working in teams to reach a common goal.

First Step

Math Lesson
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Break the students into groups of three or four, depending on the size of the classroom.

Materials Needed

Single yellow sharpened pencil with blank note cards
Math study materials you'll need. Kristin Duvall / Getty Images

Here is a list of list materials needed to complete the exercise:

  • Grocery Store Shopping List: A list of 10 items for students to buy at the grocery store. Make different lists for each group. 
  • Grocery Item Price List: A list with the prices of each of the grocery items.
  • Coupons: Coupons for some of the products listed on the shopping list.
  • Lesson Worksheet: A worksheet for students to use to determine the cost of their groceries before and after coupons and the money saved after using coupons.
  • Note cards: Use in place of the actual grocery products. Using one note card for each product, write the name of each product listed on the Grocery Item Price List. Tack the cards to a wall or bulletin board. This will be the pretend grocery store where students will select the items listed on their shopping list.
  • Scissors.
  • Pencils with erasers.

Begin the Exercise - Going Shopping!

Schoolboys and schoolgirls learning in classroom
Split your students into teams for grocery shopping. Caiaimage/Sam Edwards / Getty Images

Tell the classroom that it is time to go grocery shopping!

Provide each group with a Grocery Shopping List, Price List, Coupons and a Lesson Worksheet. Review the Lesson Worksheet with the class.

(See the last two steps for the printable lesson tools.)

Step One - The Grocery Shopping List

Grocery Shopping List
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The Grocery Shopping List is the list of items the group will pretend to shop for at their favorite grocery store. Instruct each group to find the note cards that match the items on their shopping list.

Here are the shopping lists for each group:

Group One - Shopping List

  • Arnold Brick Oven Bread
  • A&W Root Beer
  • Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup
  • Annie's Spaghetti
  • Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce - Original
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Betty Crocker Fruit by Foot
  • Ritz Bits - Peanut Butter Crackers
  • Marcal Family Napkins

Group Two - Shopping List

  • Wonder Italian Bread
  • Cheerios Cereal
  • Welch's Concord Grape Jelly
  • Fluff Marshmellow Cream
  • Heinz Hamburger Dill Chips
  • Bounty Paper Towels
  • Idahoan Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Giant Green Beans
  • Ragu Pizza Traditional Sauce
  • Bounty Paper Towels

Group Three - Shopping List

  • Arnold Hot Dog Buns
  • Minute White Rice
  • Country Time Lemonade
  • Marcal Family Napkins
  • Cream of Wheat Instant Hot Cereal
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta
  • Del Monte Fresh Cut Sliced Carrots
  • Kraft Velveeta Cheese Block
  • Rold Gold Pretzel Twists

Group Four - Shopping List

  • Two Bite Brownies-Homestyle
  • A&W Root Beer
  • Pop Tarts Cherry - Frosted
  • ShopRite Golden Corn
  • Kraft Velveeta Cheese Block
  • Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta
  • Hamburger Helper Dill Chips
  • Rold Gold Pretzel Twists
  • Gladware
  • Glad Cling Wrap

Group Five - Shopping List

  • Premium White Enriched Bread
  • Betty Crocker Hash Browns
  • Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Annie's Spaghetti
  • Apple Jacks
  • Cream of Wheat Instant Hot Cereal
  • Ritz Bits - Peanut Butter Crackers
  • Minute White Rice
  • Marcal Family Napkins

Step Two - The Price List

Price List
CagriOner/Getty Imags

The Item Price List gives the price for each item listed on the Shopping Lists.

Once all items on the groups shopping lists are located, groups should return to their work area and use the Item Price List to get the price of each item. This information should then be listed on the Lesson Worksheet. (Item Name and Item Price)

Here is the price list:


  • Smith's Raisin Cinnamon Bread - $3.95
  • Wonder Italian Bread - $3.59
  • Arnold Brick Oven Bread - $2.50
  • Premium White Enriched Bread - $3.59
  • Arnold Hot Dog Buns - $3.19
  • Two Bite Brownies-Homestyle - $3.85


  • Apple & Eve Apple Juice - $3.99
  • Country Time Lemonade - $1.55
  • Johnson's Gallon of Whole Milk - $3.35
  • A&W Root Beer - $1.99

Breakfast Food

  • Apple Jacks - $5.49
  • Cheerios Cereal - $4.59
  • Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix - $5.15
  • Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup - $2.95
  • Cream of Wheat Instant Hot Cereal - $5.25
  • Pop Tarts Cherry - Frosted - $2.95

Canned Food

  • Del Monte Fresh Cut Sliced Carrots - $1.15
  • Green Giant Green Beans - $1.29
  • ShopRite Golden Corn - $0.65
  • Idahoan Mashed Potatoes - $1.29
  • Kraft Velveeta Cheese Block - $2.99

Pasta, Sauces, and Grains

  • Annie's Spaghetti - $2.19
  • Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce - Traditional - $1.39
  • Betty Crocker Hash Browns - $2.19
  • Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta - $2.95
  • Minute White Rice - $2.55


  • Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter - $2.55
  • Welch's Concord Grape Jelly - $2.29
  • Heinz Hamburger Dill Chips - $1.29
  • Heinz Ketchup - $3.19
  • Fluff Marshmellow Cream - $1.15
  • Ragu Pizza Quick Traditional Sauce - $2.05


  • Jolly Time White Popcorn - $1.79
  • Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot - $3.85
  • Ritz Bits - Peanut Butter Crackers -$0.65
  • Rold Gold Pretzel Twists - $3.19

Paper and Plastic

  • Glad Kitchen Bags - $3.05
  • Gladware - $4.25
  • Marcal Family Napkins - $3.85
  • Glad Cling Wrap - $4.09
  • Bounty Paper Towels - $2.95

Step 3 - Using Coupons

Grocery Coupon
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The coupons match with some of the items on the group shopping lists. You can print a copy of each group's coupons from the links below:

Coupons for Group One
Coupons for Group Two
Coupons for Group Three
Coupons for Group Four
Coupons for Group Five

  • Print and distribute the coupons.
  • Instruct students to clip and match as many coupons as they can to their grocery items.
  • The amount of each coupon that the students match to an item should then be listed in the applicable area of the Lesson Worksheet.

Step 4 - The Lesson Worksheet, Presentation, Class Discussion

Lesson Worksheet
Donna Montaldo

The Lesson Worksheet is used to tally the amount of money saved by using coupons.

After all items and prices and coupon amounts are listed, instruct the groups to total the columns on the worksheet and figure out how much the groceries would have cost before applying the coupons and how much they saved using the coupons.

Group Presentation

Each group will choose one person to present the results of their shopping trip and share how much they saved using coupons.

Class Discussion

Discuss using coupons and encourage students to share any past experiences they had about using coupons.


Shopping and Coupon Lesson
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Using real coupons clipped from a newspaper, magazine or food package, instruct the students to go to the store with a parent and find the product and use the coupon(s) when checking out at the register. Bring the cash register receipt to class. The student who saves the most by using coupons wins a prize.

Suggested Prizes:

  • Piggybank the Savings: Have the students make small piggybanks out of milk cartons. Give the students a quarter or a dime for each dollar saved using coupons. Have the students count out together as the coins are put into the piggybank.
  • Point System: If the school uses a point system for rewards, give each student the amount they saved in points.
  • Gum Day: The student is allowed to chew gum for the rest of the school day.
  • First One Out the Door: The student is allowed to stand at the door a minute before the class it let out for the day.
  • Seat Swap: The student can select which desk to sit at for the entire school day.
  • Sock Day: The student can remove their shoes the following day at school. (Encourage the student to wear fun socks.)
  • Extra Recess: Allow the student to have an extra recess.