When I first stumbled across project-based learning, it felt too good to be true. With project-based learning tasks you mean students complete engaging activities that expose them to exciting real-life scenarios? Sign me up!
My students had been the victims of unrealistic math problems far too many times and I was tired of doing my best to justify them. So, once I found themed project-based learning activities, I quickly realized that they were just what my students needed.
In this post, I share one of the project-based learning units that I created to give my students meaningful practice with math skills like addition, subtraction, area, elapsed time, and other key standards.
What is Project-Based Learning?
Project-based learning, also known as PBL, is a teaching approach that provides students with the opportunity to explore real-world problems and scenarios in a meaningful way. When completing project-based learning activities, students complete several different tasks or challenges in order to solve a problem.
What I love best about project-based learning is that with so many themes out there, students can use their imaginations to take ownership of tasks that they may eventually complete as an adult such as planning trips or running their own businesses. The problem-solving that students practice provides them with skills that they can carry with them to complete tasks in their everyday lives.
Pet Groomer Project-Based Learning Pack
After I learned about the magic that is project-based learning, I was instantly inspired to begin creating units for my students to interact with in my classroom. My pet groomer pack provides students with the opportunity to practice several key math skills as they problem-solve their way through opening and running a pet grooming business. Check out the different components below.
Pet Groomer Project-Based Learning Unit
Students use real-life math skills to help them plan, set up, and manage their own pet grooming business! Upper elementary students will love putting their math skills to good practice using this resource.
Project-Based Learning Vocabulary Cards
Exposing students to key vocabulary for each project-based learning unit helps them to build the necessary background knowledge that they need to make connections. The included vocabulary cards feature real-life photographs and student-friendly definitions of words that are essential to each project-based learning unit.
Using a Budget to Buy Furniture and Supplies
Part of running a successful business is having the furniture and supplies that you need to be successful. Running a dog grooming business is no different! Students start with a $1,000 budget and a grooming supplies catalog to purchase items from. Then, they will determine which supplies to buy and add up their expenses to be sure they stay within their budget.
Students may never run a grooming center in real life, but they will likely practice adding up the cost of their groceries, bills, and more in hopes of maintaining their budget.
Using Area to Design a Layout
One of the best parts of running a business is deciding what the building layout will look like. For this activity, students use dimensions for several areas that need to be included within their building, such as grooming areas, play areas, a lobby, and more, along with the measurements of each. Students must plot out the required areas and determine the best way to fit everything within their 2,000 sq. ft. space while leaving room for walkways.
If you’ve ever measured a room and the furniture that will go inside of it, you’ve practiced this same skill (and it’s likely one you’ve used more than once)! This task gives students practice with finding area.
Using Multiplication to Hire a Company
A nice playground area needs turf! Students need to hire a turf company to complete the job, but how much will it cost to turf two complete playgrounds including labor? Students will be doing the math to find out!
While the companies that we hire to complete work usually do the math for us, it’s always good to be able to calculate the numbers to be sure we’re paying the right amount! By having students do the math, we give them the opportunity to practice multiplying and adding several numbers.
Once students have designed and decorated the center, it’s time to hire some employees. Students will use the service areas within their center to help determine what types of employees they may need to hire to keep it running smoothly.
Calculate Employee Pay using Multiplication
Employees work 9 to 5 and are paid $15 an hour. Now that it’s time for students to calculate payroll, they need to determine how much each employee will get paid for the week.
This task allows students to practice working with elapsed time and multiplication.
Advertising for the Business
Any successful business has a recognizable business name and logo. Students must find a way to advertise their pet grooming center. Let students get creative by designing brochures, flyers, a commercial, or other ways to advertise their business.
Using Addition & Multiplication for Customer Services
Different services are available at different prices, and with so many different scenarios out there, customers may have specific questions about how much the services they need will cost. Students will use the included pricing chart to determine totals for the customer scenarios on task cards.
Addition and multiplication skills help students solve the scenarios that a few different customers bring forth. Not only that but also students practice customer service skills.
Making Employee Schedules using Elapsed Time
The groomer has many pets to get through and a limited time to get everything done! Students will plan out the groomer’s schedule to make sure he gets everything done and still has time for lunch and clean up. This task helps students with time management as well as using elapsed time. Both skills are a necessary part of growing up and having more independence.
Analyze Data and Create Graphs
Yay for a successful first month as a business owner! Owning a business means taking a step back and looking at the data from your business. Using the data provided, students will create a bar graph to represent the numbers. They will then analyze the data in order to answer important questions about their profit for the month.
Create a Shoebox Diorama
It’s time to bring the pet grooming center to life! Students will create a shoebox diorama of their grooming center. They will add people, animals, and furniture to make their diorama more appealing.
Build a Pet Crate – STEM Challenge
How hard can it be to build a pet crate? Students must create their own pet crate that is roomy enough for a dog and that features a door that both opens and closes. Students will have access to materials such as popsicle sticks, tape, cardboard, and much more!
Are you ready to provide your students with real-life inspired learning opportunities? If so, you’ve found it! I hope this post helped you see just how great project-based learning can be for your students.
Check out my other project-based learning resources here: