Whilst the online world makes it possible to avoid shops to a certain point, there always comes a time when you have to ‘pop out’ for milk or the forgotten dinner ingredients.
Shopping is one of those unavoidable activities.
‘Popping’ into the shops, however, isn’t always so easy for an individual who finds the world an overwhelming place. For an individual who is sensitive to the sensory world, a visit to the supermarket can be noisy, visually overwhelming and busy and crowded with unpredictable movement and people. Students are often asked to sit or walk down the aisles with no clear role or purpose and sometimes the temptation and lure of their favourite snack (or DVD) can be far too overwhelming. You can either get caught in one aisle for an hour or find yourself needlessly spending $100 on an assortment of DVD’s.
At Giant Steps, a mathematics unit ‘Shop til you drop’ was introduce to support students engagement in the shopping process with a key focus on developing their understanding of concepts related to numeracy, including money and addition and subtraction. The outcomes for the unit of work have been adjusted to reflect the content of the NSW Australian Curriculum. There are many more activities and variations to the teaching and learning experience that you might wish to develop or adjust based on the learning needs of your child or students.
This unit of work comprised of three parts: a lesson prior to visiting the supermarket, a community access visit to a local supermarket, and often a follow up lesson upon arrival back in class (including a cooking lesson and/or a lesson looking at addition and subtraction based on the shopping). An example of one classes program, including the forewarning resource, can be found in the resource section of this post. Of course opportunities for some functional literacy, such as creating a shopping list, as well as opportunities for meaningful and authentic communication when in the community (such as if asking for a deli or bakery item, when paying for shopping) are endless. The engagement of students in the shopping process, when they have an active role such as locating and purchasing an item(s) and when they understand the process (through the visual of a visual forewarning and schedule) are essential in supporting them to successfully participate in what can often be an overwhelming environment.