Just before February break, Grade 6 completed their Business Math/Economics Block. The class traced the evolution of money from self-sufficiency and bartering to the currency we use today, and delved into percents, their relationship to fractions and decimals, and their role in discounts, taxes, and profits.
They then put this learning right to practical use, as each student designed a business and guessed at the costs of running it. They also learned a bit about how to promote their business by making posters, writing a classified ad, and preparing notes for a radio interview. On the accounting end, each student received a checkbook and register and learned how to use them, and received a ‘monthly salary’ to use to pay all of their bills (mortgage, phone/internet, gas for the car, groceries, etc.). With the money left in their accounts, the students made spending decisions and purchased hypothetical goods from the other businesses - i.e. skirts from the clothing store, a car from the auto dealer (after calculating the monthly payment they could afford), a meal from the café, etc.
Grade 6 Teacher Libby Case remarked that this block was another opportunity “to build a sort of anchor in the students to attach things to. For instance, when we teach Greek history the students don’t delve into all of it, but when they go to college they have something to draw from to build that new learning upon.”
The students wrapped up the block with a Snack Store the last few days before break, using their new skills in a store setting. Snacks were purchased in bulk and a markup was chosen; profits from the sale will be donated to the Orchard School of Montreal. The school visited OVWS last fall and shared that many of the students are quite poor and lack the funds to bring snacks to school, so the school solicits donations from stores to provide this for their students. “We thought that by selling snacks here we could provide them with snacks there,” said Libby Case. As a result of the students’ efforts, they earned $100 that they’ll be sending to Orchard School in Montreal.
When school resumes after break, the 6th Grade will visit VSECU in Montpelier to learn how the credit union works.