Grocery Store Math Questions

There is so much math you can learn and talk about with your kids when you’re doing regular everyday things. Here are 25 “math problems” you can use when you go to the grocery store, ranging from elementary math through Algebra!

Elementary Math

(Substitute your own products and prices based on what you’re actually buying at the store.).

  1. Addition: We need 1 gallon of milk, 1 dozen eggs, and 1 loaf of bread. What is our total cost?
  2. Subtraction: The name brand milk costs $X.XX/gallon and the store brand milk costs $Y.YY/gallon. How much more does the name brand milk cost than the store brand milk?
  3. Multiplication: Apples cost XX cents apiece. How much will a dozen cost?
  4. Division: This flank steak weighs XX pounds and costs $Y.YY. How much does it cost per pound?
  5. Time difference: We arrived at the grocery store at 9:25am. We must leave by 11:00. How much time do we have to shop?
  6. Naming fractions: We put XX apples in our cart. YY of them had a stem. What fraction had a stem? (Bonus: reduce the fraction to lowest terms)
  7. Area: It takes 50 steps to walk from the front of the grocery store to the back. It takes 100 steps to walk from the left side of the grocery store to the right. What is the area of the grocery store in “square steps”?
  8. Sales tax: Our purchase today was $X.XX. Our sales tax rate is Y.YY%. What will be our total at the register?
  9. Change back: Our total at the register is Y.YY. How much change will we receive from a $100 bill?
  10. Estimation: Pears cost $0.79 apiece. Approximately how much will 22 pears cost?
  11. Average: We bought three roasts that weighed X.XX, Y.YY, and Z.ZZ pounds. What was the average weight of each roast?
  12. Ordering numbers: Various pieces of candy at the checkout line cost $1, 59 cents, $1.09, $0.65, and $0.32 cents. Put them in order from least to greatest.

Middle school math

  1. Surface Area: What is the surface area of a can of biscuits, which has a diameter of 2 inches and a length of 6 inches?
  2. Volume: What is the volume of that same can of biscuits?
  3. Ratios: Our recipe calls for 2 eggs and three cups of sugar. If we want to use 5 eggs, how much sugar will we need?
  4. Percent off: Yogurt normally costs $X.XX per carton. Today it is 25% off. What is the price today?
  5. Comparisons: Which is a better buy 1 lb of butter at $X.XX or 12 oz. of butter at $Y.YY?
  6. Probability: Customers entering the store can participate in a store promotion in order to win $50 in free groceries. Everyone playing has the same probability of winning: 1 in 25. What is the probability that two customers in a row will win the free groceries?
  7. Expected value: If customers want to participate in this promotion, they have to buy a ticket that costs $2.50. Is it a good deal for someone to choose to participate?
  8. Pythagorean theorem: If it takes 30 steps to walk from the front of the store to the back, and 40 steps to walk from the left of the store to the right, how may steps would it take to walk diagonally across the store?
  9. Direct variation: The price of coffee varies directly with the number of pounds purchased. If 10 pounds of coffee cost $35, how much would 4 pounds cost?
  10. Algebraic Expressions: If bananas cost $0.99 for the first pound and $0.49 for each additional pound, how would express the total cost of bananas given that you purchase X pounds.
  11. Algebraic Expressions: If apples cost $0.59 per pound, how would you express the total cost of apples, given that you purchase X pounds?
  12. Solving equations: If you wish to spend the same amount on apples and bananas and have the same number of pounds of each, how many pounds of each would you need to buy?
  13. Combinatorics: If you buy 3 different types of bread, 4 different types of deli meat, 5 different types of cheese, and 2 different condiments (mayo and mustard), how many different kinds of sandwiches will you be able to make using 1 type of bread, 1 meat, 1 cheese, and 1 condiment?

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