Shopping, Budgeting, Optimization, and Discrete Math


Brief Description:

The Old Navy in the Athens Promenade will be the location of the field trip. This field trip could be transformed to accommodate almost any high school math class. Our target tenth grade class was in Riverwood High School in Atlanta.

Demographics of Riverwood High School

  • There are a total number of 1,096 students that attend Riverwood High School.
  • The ethnicity break ups of the students are as follows:
    • 23.4% Black
    • 49.6% White
    • 16.3% Hispanic
    • 8.9% Asian
    • 1.7% Multiracial
  • 49.8% of the students are male and 50.2% are female.
  • 15.8% of the students are enrolled in a gifted program
  • 91.9% are in the college prep program
  • The drop out rate is 1.5%
  • 85% of the students pass the graduation test on the first time
  • 75% of the 2000 graduates were eligible to receive the HOPE scholarship
  • The teachers at the school have an average of 10.77 years of experience
  • There are about 79 teachers, 32 support personnel, and 21 administrators
  • They are recognized at a Georgia School of Excellence, National Blue Ribbon School, and a Charter school.

Site Contact Information:

Old Navy Athens Promenade Athens GA, 30609

(Phone) 706-354-8047

Contact store manager for permission to conduct class activity at store location.

Field Trip Arrangements:

Melanie Sauer, Kristen Robinson and Rebecca Parker had a few meetings to go over the location, and activity for the field trip. It was necessary to call the manager at the store location of Old Navy and get permission to conduct an activity at that location. In addition, we prepared a handout for the class activity to be filled out during the field trip.

At the site, the students will form groups and receive a handout. Each group will be given $200 and a shopping list for summer clothes. For the class activity, each group will receive points based upon the items they buy with their $200. The team with the most points at the end will receive a prize. When listing the price of an item, round ($12.49 is $12 while $12.50 is $13). After the activity, students will discuss the purpose of this lesson, and how they could use it in their own classroom.

Mathematical Lessons:

  1. Purpose: Have students study discrete mathematics in the real-world contexts of purchasing cloths on a budget.
  2. Objective: Have students learn about optimization of funds through a budgeting activity.
  3. Materials Needed for Activity:
    • Worksheets
    • Real or Mock Clothing Store (In this activity, we used Old Navy.)
    • Pen or pencil
  1. Day Break Up for Lesson:
    • Day 1: Preparation- Go over discrete mathematics lesson, and prepare for field trip
    • Day 2: Experiment- Conduct activity at site location.
    • Day 3: Extension- Have students prepare a speech to convince their parents to give them $200 to buy summer clothes. Written speech should include the specifics items that they could buy, as well as a brief description of some of the mathematics involved in the activity.


Students will be assessed through their points earned in the activity. Additionally, the students mathematical understanding of budgeting and optimization will be assessed in their written speeches on the third day.


No articles or materials were used in preparing the activity.


Old Navy Field Trip

Name: ________________________________________________________

Group Members: ________________________________________________


Your parents have given you $200 to spend at Old Navy buying summer clothes. Guidelines and limitations:

  1. You must buy:
  2. a. 1 pair of jeans/pants.

    b. 1 shirt that is not a t-shirt

    c. 1 pair of footwear (Note: if you don't buy flip-flops or sandals you also must

    buy a pair of socks)

  3. You may not buy:

    a. kids' clothes

    b. clearance items

    c. undergarments

    d. gifts/knick-knacks


For the class activity, each group will receive points based upon the items they buy with their $200. The team with the most points at the end will receive a prize. When listing the price of an item, round ($ 12.49 is $12 while $12.50 is $13). The point scale is as follows:



Socks, Accessories


T-Shirts, Flip-flops


PJs, Shorts, Tops, Shirts, Shoes, Sandals


Pants, Bathing Suits


Dresses, Skirts, Nice Clothes




Keep Track of your purchases in the following table.




Total Cost

$ Remaining

Item's Point Value

Total Pts.































Total Points Accumulated ____________________

Money Left Over ___________________________



The Department of Mathematics Education
University of Georgia