Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teacher Tuesday: Dinner On A Budget

Thank you to Sarah Kolkman, Instructor at Shepherds College, for writing today's blog.
Dinner on a Budget project was created as a way to challenge students who finish work early in the first-year class, Math and Money Skills.   There is a diverse range of abilities in math, in which every student in one subject excels or struggles.   In order to allow individual attention on those who struggle with the math concepts and allow those who have completed the assignment additional REAL training, a blue folder appeared in the back of the classroom. 
Students were instructed that if their work was completed and turned in, they could work on additional math practice or grab the blue folder in the back of the room.  Inside the folder contained steps to planning a dorm dinner on a budget.  Working as a team, the math students were to plan the meal, budget the expenses, shop, prepare, and serve the meal for all the first-year class. 
Cooking for over 24 students plus staff on a $50.00 budget turned out to be more difficult than they thought.
Soon students were eagerly finishing their assignments as quickly as they could so they can work on the blue folder.  Students quickly had a menu mapped out which included a potato bar dinner, fruit salad and broccoli for the side, and Orange Julius to drink.  (Reaching across the curriculum, students used their Daily Living Skills knowledge when planning the meal, making sure every food group was accurately represented based on MYPlate.gov)
The tricky part was getting the price down.  A week before the dinner, some math students made a trip to the grocery store to research the ingredients and their prices. 
Not only were they challenged with finding the cheapest price per unit, but estimating how much of that ingredient would feed 24 hungry college students.  Adding up our total, it came to over $100!  Yikes!  Not discouraged, students went back and combed through their recipes and ingredient list.   They found areas they could cut out and trim back on, and finally turned in a budget proposal that was under $50.00.
The following week, another group of math students went back to the grocery store to shop for their items. 
As students will learn in their 2nd year, food is a flexed expense, meaning it changes.  Some of the prices had changed from our original trip.  With quick thinking and a couple of returns, students were able to purchase everything, bring it back to the dorms, dice, steam, and bake the food into a wonderfully prepared potato bar meal. 

I am so proud of my math students.  Each and every one of them had a role in this project, and they demonstrated great team work, problem solving, and overall budgeting skills.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.

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