Unveiling the World of Whole Numbers: Foundations for Mathematical Understanding

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Topic 2 introduces “Whole numbers” and the rules and procedures for manipulating them. These ideas are the basic building blocks of mathematics, and students must understand them to succeed not only in this course but in almost any mathematical endeavor.

          This activity is designed to challenge a student’s knowledge of basic mathematics. In order to solve a real-world problem like simply shopping your school/office supplies, students must demonstrate an understanding on basic operations of whole numbers.

          After completing this topic, students will know how to carry out basic operations on whole numbers such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They will also have seen how these basic operations can help them in their everyday lives.


          After this lesson, the students will be able to:

Define “whole numbers”

Differentiate whole numbers and fractions

Know the four basic operations of whole numbers

Perform addition, subtraction and multiplication of whole numbers

Apply the basic operations of mathematics to real-world problems


          The allotted time for this activity is 30 minutes up to 1 hour. This includes the class grouping and validation of the group’s work/performance at the end of the activity.


          The following materials will be needed for the activities:

PowerPoint presentation




          This activity will test the understanding of the students on the four basic operations on whole numbers. The task of the students is to perform in the classroom like they are shopping school supplies based on the assigned list of materials. They will use their knowledge on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers. Below is the detailed instructions of the activity.

Name of activity: “Everyday Math for School Supplies Shopping”

1. Divide the class into four groups and let them assign their team leader.

2. Each group will pick from different cards where each card is a list of school supplies they need to purchase/buy as a team. Below is the example of the cards:


3. After all the groups picked their cards, a budget of $100 (fake money can do) will be given to each group. They will spend this $100 in buying the list of school supplies from teacher’s store. The store will be presented in the powerpoint like the one below:

4. The group can start computing the total cost of the school materials assigned to them. They will perform multiplication in order to get the total price per item and then addition in order to get the total cost of all the materials they purchased. After that, they will use subtraction to know how much is left from $100 after buying. The final and hardest part is in order to perform division, they will divide the total amount left to the number of member in the group. The last part can be omitted if they are greater than 5 members per group. Let us use the green card as our example:

Here are the steps the students should follow in order to complete the task:

1. Perform multiplication. Multiply the number of each item to its corresponding price.

2. Perform addition. In order to get the total cost of all the school supplies they purchased, add all the cost per item.

3. Perform subtraction. In order to know how much is left from $100, subtract the total cost of all item from $100.

4. There is no need to perform division.

Teaching Tips: Challenges and Approaches 

Most, but not all, students will already know this material. It's challenging to discuss these fundamental ideas in ways that neither insult nor intimidate students. Our approach is to describe basic math skills using conversational language, visual representations, and examples that are relevant to the students.  

For example, in that activity students are shown the basic operations in mathematics can be applied to a situation they likely know all too well— deciding if they can afford to buy something they want.

Models like these can help an inexperienced math learner understand a fundamental concept, and at the same time give more assured students new ways of thinking about a familiar idea

September 25, 2023

Education Science


Learning Math

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