How To Teach: Cost Comparison Skills

functional life skills how to teach life skills special education teachers transition Apr 11, 2022

Importance of Comparing Prices

Cost comparison is a skill that can be used anytime someone shops for something. You can compare the price of cell phones, oranges, shoes, and haircuts. However, knowing there are two factors that go into determining which is the best ‘value’ is a true skill.
-Where to find prices
-How to compare ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’
-How to determine what is ‘quality’
-Steps for deciding which number is lower
-Comparing similar items
Why Focus On These Skills
Comparing prices goes hand in hand with staying on budget. While $0.15 may not seem like a lot, if you are buying 10 items and you can save $0.15 on each item by comparison shopping then you could have $1.50 more in your pocket and that small amount could be the tipping point between under budget and over budget.
When To Teach
Since cost comparison is associated with shopping, it is best to group navigating a store, comparing prices, and paying for a purchase (along with budgeting) together, if possible. Once your students and young adults feel confident navigating the store your class frequents, then add in the layer of comparing prices.
I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!  
Students will identify two prices of the same quality and same quantity.
Students will identify the best value and price between two.
Lesson Vocabulary
Brand name, compare, generic, less, more, price, quality, quantity, save, value
  • Pre and Post assessment
  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)
  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills
  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)
  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment
  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)
  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)
  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)
  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics
  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement
  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills
  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting
  • Word search of key vocabulary terms
  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics
Ultimate Goal
The ultimate goal is to save a few bucks come time to pay. However, if they are buying something they don’t need or that won’t work for a recipe, then it doesn’t matter how much they save. Helping students to identify the ‘qualities’ they need in a purchase is the first step and ultimate goal. Is it a need or a want? Can I use garlic salt if that is cheaper than season salt?
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