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In this lesson, students will calculate savings for different products when using coupons. They will also decide what factors will influence the choices they make when choosing products.

KEY CONCEPTS

Decision Making, Incentive, Price, Producers

STUDENTS WILL

  • Calculate savings for different products when using coupons.
  • Identify factors that influence the choices consumers make.
  • Explain how advertisers use economic incentives to encourage consumers to purchase their products.

INTRODUCTION

 

shopperHave you ever gone grocery shopping? What types of food do you buy? Think about one thing you might buy. It might be cookies, cereal or ice cream. Now, think about what brand you buy. Why do you think you choose that brand over others?

Sometimes producers offer "incentives," or a special reason to buy their product. An incentive might be a discount, like a coupon, or a 'gift' like a toy in a cereal box. Incentives make consumers want to buy that product instead of another product.

MATERIALS

  • Bargaining Quest Activity: Have students complete this activity to better understand price and incentives.
    Interactive Activity

PROCESS

[NOTE: This activity requires basic understanding of decimals. Pair students who have a strong grasp of decimals and place value with students who are still learning about decimals. Remind students that they will be working with decimals and to pay close attention to place value when completing the activity.]

With your class, think about and discuss the following:

When you are in a store and making a choice, what might affect your choice of brand? [Quality, taste, customer loyalty, price, marketing or package design]

couponsProducers, or the people who make the products, know that there are certain things they can do to get you to choose their product over someone else's. First, they can make it taste or function better. This would be called improving its quality. Next, they can make the box or packaging that the product is in look really fun. Finally, they can give you an incentive to choose that product, such as a toy in the box or a lowered price.

Today you will look at some coupons, pieces of paper a producers give you which let you pay less for their product. In some ways, it is like free money if you buy their product.

Complete the  Clipping Coupons-Bargain Quest Activity and be prepared to answer questions after completion.

[NOTE: If you are working with young students, have them work in pairs and make sure that there is a strong reader in each pair.]

This activity requires basic understanding of decimals. Pair students who have a strong grasp of decimals and place value with students who are still learning about decimals. Remind students that they will be working with decimals and to pay close attention to place value when completing the activity.

CONCLUSION


Questions from activity:

  • How much money did you save with these coupons?
    [Answers will vary]
     
  • What would you like to buy on the saved money?
    [Answers will vary]
     
  • What might influence your choice?
    [Answers will vary]
     
  • Do you think coupons might help you choose?
    [Answers will vary]

ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

In small groups, have the students cut out coupons from newspapers and magazines. Have them organize the coupons into three piles:

  • Brands of things their families normally purchase (for example, the correct brand of ketchup)
  • A different brand than they normally purchase (for example, a different brand of ketchup)
  • Something their family doesn't normally purchase (for example, BBQ sauce if they don't normally buy BBQ sauce)

Then, have students focus on the second pile of coupons: "different brand than they normally purchase, "Have the students separate the coupons in that pile into two more piles. The first pile is for products they would buy even though it is the wrong brand. The second is for products they still will not buy even with the coupon. Then ask them the following:

  • What made you decide to buy (or not buy) a different brand?
  • What other incentives might a producer offer to encourage you to buy brand?

Then, have the students look at the coupons in the third pile: "Something their family doesn't normally purchase." Have them subdivide that pile into two piles: things they will buy and things they will not buy. Then, have them answer the following:

  • What made you decide to buy a product you don't normally buy?
  • What incentive could the producer give to get you to buy the product?

EDUCATOR REVIEWS

  • “Having the students write and explain the steps in the process and justify their reasoning is a great follow-up activity. This lesson really helps prepare fifth grade students for the FCAT.”

    Leslie S.   POSTED ON January 31, 2006

  • “Thanks very much for this activity. It was very helpful and was used as a supplement for my JAG and COOP class we are working on - budgets and managing everyday household activities for special needs students.”

    Cathy Agnew   POSTED ON January 31, 2006

  • “Overall, I do like this lesson; I feel that it may be too much for for a younger group of children during one period of time. If I was implementing this lesson for students in K-2 grades I would use fewer questions than are provided in the lesson. If I implemented this lesson for grades 3-5 I would opt to use the majority of the questions. I also think it is a great idea to have the students clip actual coupons. This is a great hands-on activity that allows the children to see real products and incentives. I do think this lesson is written in a way that fits sequentially. As suggested in the lesson, there is some difficult reading and prior knowledge of addition and decimals used in this lesson that may make it difficult for some students.”

    Stephanie M., Cincinnati, OH   POSTED ON March 18, 2008

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