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Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Price is Right & QR Codes

As part of our Challenge Based Learning Unit exploring the essential question, "Can funding equalize our education system?", today my students played The Price is Right. Before the kids write a grant to improve their school, I want them to understand the relative costs that go into their classroom. I had a feeling that they did not have a solid understand of prices and boy was I right about that.

First, I gave them a Numbers spreadsheet (see right) to use as a template. I scaffolded this between my different levels of students based on the number of classroom items listed. They downloaded this file from my class page and opened it in the Numbers app on their iPads.

Their first task was to work in their groups to estimate the price of each item. The, they wrote a number sentence to find the total cost of all of those items. For example, if they estimated that the Headphones were each $10, then they would write $10 x 35 (quantity) = $350. I had them do these calculations by hand because later in this unit we will learn how to input formulas into the Numbers spreadsheet, but I want them first to understand why this is an important and helpful tool. After calculating 40 equations by hand, I think they will better appreciate this. Moreover, as their math teacher, I want them to think carefully about the number sentences they write - so when they are inputting formulas into the spreadsheet, they understand what they are doing.

After they had completed the red columns, they walked around the room and scanned QR codes to find the actual price of each item.
Following this, they once again calculated the total costs of items and then found the sum of that column to determine the "total actual cost of our classroom."

Their reactions were quite interesting... we talked at length about what surprised them and what how their reactions shaped their thinking about school spending and equity. As a reflection activity, they tweeted their thoughts to share with the world. See this post about how we got 9 and 10 year olds to tweet, and read some of their tweets.


  1. Great use of QR codes. Often times, QR codes get dismissed as a one and done learning tool, but I think this activity really extends the learning and makes it authentic. Thanks for sharing - Jen

  2. What a great use of QR Codes, very impressed with your innovative technological solution.