Talking to Kids about Money, Creating Structures & Optical Illusions

Well, it's the end of April, with 2 more months left. Wowsers! But honestly.... I can't say I am overly saddened for the year to come to an end (as it's been a doozy). Although I will admit, it has pushed me to become a better teacher and severely forced me out of my comfort zone.

With that being said... I saw this quote the other day and it rang very clear.

I'm hanging on.... It's quite the ride, but that's what life's all about, right?

I digress..... Here is a little snapshot of what went on this past week....

Last week was National Money Day for grade 7 students in Canada. I was sent info via email and my teaching partner and I decided to participate! What I learned..... 12 and 13 year olds need to talk about money. They have many misconceptions about how much things cost... and they want to know. They are not too young to discuss savings, how to save, how to earn etc.

 Here's a quick survey about some of our discussion topics:

For free resources and information on teaching intermediate students about money, click here:
It's very easy to register! All the resources below come from this site.

 We broke the kids up into groups of 2 or 3 and provided them with vaious money problems.
This first problem had them working with Area and Money. The kids were given 3 advertisements and their "deals." They were asked to determine what store provided the most cost effective choice.

In Science, we recently began working on our Structures Unit. Keeping with the money theme, I assigned a structures building task to students in pairs.

What do you need?
*Construction paper. These will be used to create rods
(I found nasty faded papers in the art room that had been abandoned)
*masking tape
*heavy textbook
*cue cards

Here was their assignment:
Create a structure using paper rods and masking tape. Give each student a "bank card" (I didn't make this fancy, just a cue card will do). I acted as the sales person. Each piece of paper cost $0.50 and each piece of metre long tape cost $1.00. Their goal was to create a structure that could hold a text books (or many), all while keeping the cost effective/manageable.
Here's a few that they came up with:

The students totalled up their costs and presented/tested their structures. Following each experiment, we had a discussion about the strongest structure vs. cost. Each group was also distributed reflection questions, which allowed them to rethink their structure and try to think about how they could enhance it. 

The past few days we have used these structure to now discuss form and function.

In Visual Arts this week, we looked at 3Dimesional Artwork and Optical Illusions.
Here is a great online lesson that you could use. I watched it on my own first, and then taught the key ideas to focus on. I then played the video and paused frequently to give the students time to create and ask questions.

We have not completed our pieces of art, yet.... But here's what they have created so far.

Lots on the go this week! Stay tuned for lots of free resources in the coming weeks!

Have a happy week.