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Math at the Mall (Grades 5-8)

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mall

Malls and shopping areas are places where students can engage in a wide variety of mathematics. The following are activities that students can consider when they are at the mall. Since all of our malls are different, answers will vary from location to location.

What makes up a mall?

Malls have lots of different types of shops, so you can approach this question in a number of ways.

1. Obtain or create a list of all the different shops in the mall. (You may want to choose a medium-sized mall or shopping area. That gives you the range and sizes of shops. If it is a very large mall you may want to divide the mall up into regions and give groups of students a region.)

2. Organize the various shops and businesses into different categories that are appropriate for your mall. Some possible categories include: department stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, record stores, software stores, book stores, food shops, toy stores, sporting goods stores, etc. You may need to make up categories to describe your mall. Work to make categories broad enough so that they generally contain more than one store or business. Also, try to account for everything that is at the mall. (The people who manage your mall may be able to supply you with a list of the shops alphabetically or by location. This way your students can role play being the owners of the mall and making the decisions about the categories and where each shop fits.)

3. From the total number of shops and businesses in the mall, calculate the percentage of total businesses in each category.

4. Create a bar chart or circle graph that represents the number and percentage of businesses in each category.

5. Analyze your data and graphs, and write a statement that describes the number of shops and businesses in the mall. Can you use this information to make any conjectures about the people that use the mall?

Another way to look at what makes up the mall is to consider the area that each of the different categories account for in the mall.

6. Many malls have maps that offer a scale drawing of the mall. Take some measurements and calculate what scale was used to make the drawing.

7. Using the list of shops and categories developed in Question 2 and your scale drawing, calculate the amount and percentage of mall floor space accounted for by each category.

8. What percentage of the mall floor space is not accounted for by the shops and businesses? What is this space used for?

9. Create a bar chart or circle graph that represents the amount and percentage of floor space for each category.

10. Analyze your data and graphs, and write a statement that describes how floor space is used in the mall. Can you use this information to make any conjectures about the mall?

11. What can you say about malls from your analysis of numbers of shops and floor space?