Looking Back: Real World Money Activity

Back in November, students participated in a real world activity involving applying for a job, earning a salary, cashing a check from the bank, and spending money using exact change or making change at the market.


To begin the activity, students had to apply for jobs.  Jobs included teacher assistants, store clerks, store manager, bank tellers, bank manager, and a police officer to monitor the halls.  Teacher assistants assisted various teachers complete a specific task.  Once the task was complete, students received an envelope with their checks inside.  They could then cash their checks at the bank.  The bank tellers and bank manager were to collect the checks and distribute the correct amount of money.  Finally, students would be able to use their money at the market.  At the store, students had two options: use exact change to pay for an item or pay with more to get change.  The store clerks and store manager were responsible for making sure all sale transactions were accurate and issuing correct change to customers.




Busy line at the market


Students had such a great time doing this activity, they frequently ask when we will do it again.  Because of this, I plan on having a week-long class economy activity similar to this later in the year.  It will not only involve concepts in math, but also social studies concepts, such as basic economics involving needs vs. wants and saving vs. spending.

STEM Friday: Personal Flotation Device

This Week’s Challenge

For this week’s challenge, students had to design a personal flotation device, or life jacket, with enough support to float a 6 oz can.

Materials (per team)

  1. Soft foam
  2. 10 Rubber bands
  3. 5 Straws
  4. 5 Paperclips
  5. 5 Popsicle sticks
  6. 1 piece 14 X 14 in. foil
  7. 1 piece 14 X 14 in. bubble wrap
  8. 3 Balloons
  9. 3 Paper cups
  10. 1 Ziploc bag
  11. 1 yard of tape
  12. 1 6 oz can


  1. Build a flotation device that will keep a 6 oz can afloat for at least 60 seconds.
  2. The flotation device must be affixed to the can and part of the can has to touch the water.  In other words, your design is not a boat; it must be attached to the can.
  3. You have 60 minutes (two 30-minute sessions) to build your device.
  4. Your flotation device must be able to be affixed to the can within 20 seconds.
  5. The longer the can stays  afloat, the more points you earn (see scoring guide below).
  6. You do not have to use all of the materials.
  7. You may share and exchange materials with other teams.
  8. Materials will not be replaced.



Working hard building our devices.

Everyone did a great job working together and staying on task.  In the end, Team France was victorious with a total of 1500 points.  However, they were not able to get the device on within the 20 seconds limit.  Team Canada came in second, with 920 points.  The can began sinking after about 6 minutes.  Team England’s device was not quite strong enough to support the weight of the can.  As a result, the can “flinked.”  It did not sink to the bottom nor float at the top.  Team America’s device was not able to support the weight of the can and ended up sinking to the bottom as soon as it hit the water.  However, they were able to put the device on within 20 seconds.

Team France’s and Team Canada’s devices floating in the water
Final Score:
Team France: 1500 points
Team Canada: 920 points
Team England: 21 points
Team America: 20 points

Sentence Challenge II


What’s going on in this picture?

Can you write an exciting sentence to go with this interesting photograph from Time for Kids?

Think of what we’ve learned from women’s history and our mentor sentences each week.  Now, in the comments below, write a sentence to describe what is happening in the picture, remembering to include plenty of details.  Your sentence should tell a story.  Use as many descriptive adjectives and vivid verbs as possible to make your sentence captivating.

Get creative!  I’m looking forward to reading them!

*Sentence due on Tuesday 3/29/16*

Solar Powered Oven

Written by David

We used heat from the sun to cook. We cooked s’mores and pizza. First we made the oven. We used a pizza box, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap.We taped the aluminum foil and plastic wrap to the box. The aluminum foil made the sunlight reflect off and go into the plastic wrap which went through and went into the pizza box which got trapped where the food is.