Real Math

If you know me in real life, you know that I am not a math person. But real math; the kind of math you use in the kitchen, around the house, and in the grocery store, is the kind I get.

And being the frugal kind of person that I try to be, I like those deliberate moments when I can show my kids how math helps them find a good deal.

This particular lesson was inspired by those dumb candy machines that stand outside the grocery store. You know, those little things that ask for a quarter and give you the smallest handful of sugary candy, or a silly toy that breaks by the time you get to the car.

And the item in question?


One of my favorite candies, actually.

First, we all went to the store and bought Skittles three different ways:

From the candy aisle, in a 2 ounce bag....

From the bulk section, where you dish it out into a bag yourself.....

And  a quarter's worth, from the candy machine.

Then we laid all of them out on the table and compared.

First, the vending machine candy.

This is what we got for 25 cents:

A measly 11 candies.

Next, the bag of Skittles, which cost 68 cents and weighed a little over 2 ounces.

Finally, we laid out the same amount of Skittles we would have gotten in the 2 ounce bag, but bought in the bulk section.

Just visually seeing this comparison was compelling; Nutsy announced that any candy bought at candy machines as a rip off.

Now the math started. By figuring out how many ounces were in a pound, and doing the multiplying and dividing, my older ones were able to see how much of a cost difference we had here.

The results?

Candy from bulk: $2.48 a pound
Candy from Skittles bag: $5.44 a pound
Candy from rip off candy machine: $8.00 a pound.

Crazy, huh?

This was a big eye opener for my kids....I don't usually ever let them buy from the machines but they will try to ask. Since we have done the experiment they haven't asked, and think twice about buying it in the candy aisle. This lesson probably will backfire on me though....we have a huge bulk section at our store that sells everything from mini snickers bars to dried fruit to gummy bears. But at least when they have permission to buy, they will be doing it wisely.

And the best part of this lesson?

Getting to eat all of the Skittles.


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