Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Ice Cream Shop

Christy Clanton
Bay District Schools


The Ice Cream Shop gives students an opportunity to design products, calculate appropriate selling prices, and calculate the costs, income, and profits generated from an ice cream business.


The student understands and explains the effects of addition, subtraction, and multiplication on whole numbers, decimals, and fractions, including mixed numbers, and the effects of division on whole numbers, including the inverse relationship of multiplication and division.

The student selects the appropriate operation to solve specific problems involving addition, subtraction, and multiplication of whole numbers, decimals, and fractions, and division of whole numbers.

The student analyzes real-world data to recognize patterns and relationships of the measures of central tendency using tables, charts, histograms, bar graphs, line graphs, pictographs, and circle graphs generated by appropriate technology, including calculators and computers.

The student understands that all decisions involve opportunity costs and that making effective decisions involves considering the costs and the benefits associated with alternative choices.


-Chart paper and marker
-Student paper and pencils
-K-W-L Bulletin Board
-Books about ice cream, such as FROM MILK TO ICE CREAM: A START TO FINISH BOOK by Ali Mitgutsch, Carolrhoda Books, Inc., Minneapolis, 1981
-Multiple copies of the shopping issue of the local newspaper, at least one per team
-Student copies of Sundae Price Calculation Sheet which includes the Class Ingredient Chart (download from Associated File)


The teacher needs to:
1. Gather materials.
2. Set up class K-W-L Board.
3. Preview ice cream reference material.
4. Contact Room Mother to arrange Grand Opening for The Ice Cream Shop date for the class.
5. Download the Sundae Price Calculation Sheet and a sample of the Class Ingredient Chart and duplicate for each student.


1. The teacher invites the class to help her design her retirement income of the future, The Ice Cream Shop. Read the book FROM MILK TO ICE CREAM: A START TO FINISH BOOK by Ali Mitgutsch or another book about ice cream.

2. Students work in teams to brainstorm -What do we KNOW- about ice cream products. Data is collected on team record sheets and posted on the class K-W-L Board by each team leader. The teacher reads the data aloud to the class.

3. Students collect more -ice cream data- from cookbook resources, magazine advertisements, and maybe -ice cream- web sites found on the Internet. (My students found Ben and Jerry's and Baskin Robbins sites with their home connection.) The data is posted on the class K-W-L Board in the -What we have LEARNED?- or -L- area of the chart.

4. The teacher announces that the class will have an Ice Cream Sundae Party to field test their suggestions for sundaes to be served in an ice cream shop of the future. Students work in teams to list sundae ingredients. Team leaders share their lists, as the teacher records all ideas on the Class Ingredient Chart (sample included and can be download from the Associated File).

5. Students are given advertisements from the local newspaper to find the best prices for ingredients. As students find a price, they record the store name and price on the Class Ingredient Chart made in step four. Ingredients are often not listed in the sales ads, so students volunteer to call or visit local stores after school to check prices of necessary ingredients.

6. When all prices have been posted, choose a team to highlight the best prices.

7. Students work in teams to complete their individual Sundae Price Calculation Sheets where they compute the total price of the sundae of their choice.

8. The teacher asks the class to estimate the approximate cost per student using what the students have learned about the total cost of each ingredient in the teams. Model the process with one group to get them started. This determines the amount each sundae will cost; students typically will donate this amount to the Room Mother to buy the ingredients needed for the party.

9. The Room Mother buys the ingredients and a mock grand opening for The Ice Cream Shop is held.

10. Students are asked to consider a -fair yet profitable price- of a sundae for the teacher to charge in her future retirement business. Students write a letter to the teacher making their suggestions and explaining their reasoning.


The teacher reviews Sundae Price Calculation Sheets for accurate calculations to inform future teaching.

Teacher observes during group discussions to formatively assess students' knowledge of analyzing real world data to recognize patterns of central tendencies (the best price for ingredients and the fair price for a sundae)

The teacher formatively assesses the letter to the teacher for explanation and justification of a -fair- price for ingredients and the price the teacher should charge for a sundae in order to make a profit.


This lesson could be extended into other lessons about economics and a variety of language arts experiences.

Attached Files

Sundae Price Calculation Sheet and sample of Class Ingredient chart     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.