Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 21, 2017

This week in 4L, we continued to inquire into economics. After our two attempts at 'running a business,' we took a step back to investigate what actually goes into getting business right. 

The first thing we looked at was how the production and cost of goods are connected. To build this understanding, we participated in a simulation where we had different stalls at a bazaar. Each team of 3 was given a hypothetical item to sell, as well as how much it cost to produce that item. Before the sale could begin, we had to decide with our teammates how many of the item to produce and how much to charge for our good. The only information we had about our consumers was that there were 15 of them and they each had 2 Euros to spend.

Yigit, Nora and Sofija decide on how many felt ornaments to produce 
Aleksandras, Benas and Eva debate how much to charge for one origami figure

Sofia, Basel and Antanas calculate a fair price for cookies

Once our bazaar stalls were ready, we were open for business...again! We agreed that we could only buy one of our own products and then should spend our money elsewhere if we so desired. 

Let the shopping begin!

Leave your money in the cup, please!

So much to buy, so little time!

Once all shopping ended, we went back to our own stall to count our earnings. We calculated how many goods we sold based on the amount of money in our cup at the end of the sale. 

Krista, Steven and Veronika tally their sales of handmade greeting cards

Shourya, Domantas and Elena count their earnings for snowman pencils

Then came the fun part... it was time to compare how much we spent vs how much we made!

How much each team produced and spent

How much each team actually made when all was said and done! Only two of us managed to make a profit...

Each group shared how they determined how many to produce and how much to charge for one of their goods. Some of us chose numbers completely at random, while others had a more mathematically thought-out strategy based on number of consumers and their spending money! It was our first introduction to being in the red vs being in the black. This led to an interesting discussion about what happens when a business doesn't quite get it right, and how they would owe the bank money for any negative amounts. The students reflected on their learning from the simulation below:

To continue with the idea of cost and production, we then played a game called "Lemonade Stand". This online game is a simulation where we are lemonade stand owners. We choose how long to run our stand. We are then provided with the weather each day and must decide how to prepare our lemonade. We invest in materials like sugar, lemons, cups and ice, and decide how much to buy and use. We get customer feedback and watch as our revenues go up or our supplies run out. At the close of each day of business, we see how many cups of lemonade we actually sold vs total potential consumers, and how customers rated our stand. Some of us found winning recipes, but hardly any of us got sales ratios higher than 30/90! 

Yigit and Basel share a lemonade stand 

Aleksandras and Antanas focus their efforts on finding the perfect recipe

Sofia and Nora team up for their lemonade stand

We then took a look at supply and demand. For this simulation, we each had 2 Euros and were attending an auction. There were several items up for bid, but we had no idea how many of each there might be. The items ranged from pencils, to bookmarks, to erasers and even a few whiteboard markers. Once the auctioneer reached the eraser in the special box, the bidders became restless. No one could understand how anyone could secure the item if everyone possessed the same amount of money...until two students decided to pair up to out bid the others! This bidding drove the cost up to absurd heights on some of the items at the auction! 

Happy bidders in action at the auction

Final prices for items auctioned 

In language arts this week, we completed our spring writing prompt. We wrote a persuasive essay to the prompt: "If you could change any one thing about the world, what would it be and why?" Our responses included everything from ending war to simply being more responsible pet owners. We spent one session drafting our ideas, and a second to revise and edit our work. We will spend time next week rating ourselves on the rubric to see how our writing compares to our last prompt work. 

Basel works on his first draft

Antanas uses some of our usual writing tools as he revises and edits his work before starting his final draft

Eva types out a final draft as Steven reads for revision

In math this week, we reviewed work with measuring and drawing angles with a half-circle protractor. We also investigated rectangular coordinate grids for maps as we used letter-number pairs and ordered number pairs to locate points on a grid. We investigated the island of Ireland, as well as an imaginary campground to practice our skills. We explored the global coordinate grid system and used latitude and longitude to locate cities on each continent of the world. We learned how to report location using degrees and direction from the equator/prime meridian. Finally, we spent a bit of time challenging our division skills by working with 2-digit divisors, though many of us have already been working with these during number talks. 

In honour of Earth Week and upcoming Earth Day, grade 4 spent time cleaning up Tymo Park. Some of us ended up enjoying the treasure hunt for garbage even more than playing!

Trash becomes treasure!

Grade 4s clean up their beloved Tymo Park play places

Groups gather around to find 'interesting' garbage findings

Unearthing a buried glass bottle in tact!

The melted snow has revealed endless bits of garbage 

Excited about some of the 'treasure' they discovered while picking up rubbish today

As some of us struggle to maintain the motivation to see our Genius Hour Passion Projects through, we have one student who has taken some amazing action this week. 

For the past 2 months, Nora and her parents have facilitated a club to help save homeless cats in Vilnius. What started as a single passion project in the winter for Nora, turned into a club for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. The club worked for weeks to build cozy cat houses and collect cat food donations to give to a local animal shelter. 

On Friday, the students involved in the 'Help Homeless Cats Project' finally got to visit the Tautmiles animal shelter. They gave their donations and spent time playing with the cats and dogs currently housed in the shelter. What an inspiration this group has been! A simple illustration of how one passion can turn into action and make a difference in the world! 

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