It doesn’t get any more high-interest than telling students they’re going to plan and build a CANDY STORE! That’s what we did for the last two weeks in my classroom. We started with a video about the candy store ITSUGAR, which I visited in San Diego last month. My life always inspires my project-based learning activities – can you tell?

On a side note, my students always tell me that Math makes them hungry – ever since they started my class! I think this project made them even hungrier than usual!

This project was implemented in six 1-hour blocks. I began by showing students the video about the candy store ITSUGAR, then holding a short discussion on what it would be like to open our own candy store. We brainstormed some things we’d have to consider in order to make our candy store successful. I wrote the ideas down as the students shared them.

After we brainstormed as a class, students began the actual PBL activity. They first created their store name, then used the given ordered pairs to graph their store walls. I have about 4 students who haven’t mastered graphing ordered pairs yet, so I took this opportunity to pull them back to small group and work with them on this task. The great thing about project-based learning is that it’s so engaging, I can pull a small group and still have full engagement of the remaining students!

The next few days involved measuring and graphing (to scale) their candy displays. The students received a long list of the different types of candy displays, their dimensions, and cost from my project guidelines.  They were instructed to choose any number and assortment of candy displays, as long as they left room for customers to walk.
We used a 1/2′ scale on the graph paper because I wanted students to practice using fractional pieces. We counted by halves and measured what an actual 1/2 foot looks like in order to prepare them for this part of the activity. Measuring the actual unit helped give them a feel for how much space they would need for customers to move around in their store, and what the actual size of their displays would be.
After the graphing, the remaining days involved calculating the profit on each display of candy, which was different for each student because they were able to choose how much to charge for each piece of candy. We had a discussion beforehand on how to price their goods so that they would make a profit, but would be competitive enough for people to be willing to shop at their store. We even talked a little bit about supply and demand.
Extension: If you have access to computers in your classroom, students can work in groups to make a pretend website for their business. If not, you can have them make a poster of a “Facebook” page or website where they would market their candy store.
All of the resources you need to do this project in your own classroom can be found here!