A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008 | Comments
Starting a lesson on profit and loss with this story, quickly introduces some key concepts and we have a bit of fun.
Four students help out, one the manufacturer, one the wholesaler, the retailer and the consumer.
To make it a little silly, I give the manufacturer an empty cardboard box, explaining that the manufacturer made this box. The manufacturer sets the price that they will sell this box to the wholesaler. The box is passed to the wholesaler who decides the profit they want, and we work out the cost price.
The retailer then decides the profit they want, and their selling price. The consumer then decides whether they will pay the selling price for the box.
As the students are setting the price, the price can get a little silly by the time it gets to the consumer, but that’s a great teaching moment. Will the consumer buy an empty cardboard box for $1000? No? So, the student representing the consumer gets to tell the retailer they’re not buying the box. We can then discuss how profit is not about just setting the amount you want to earn, but there needs to be a balance between what the seller needs and the buyer will pay.
We cover a few concepts in this activity: cost price, selling price, profit. We also get to discuss why someone in the chain might make a loss (e.g. because they can’t sell $1000 cardboard boxes! or because the teacher dropped the box and now it’s damaged goods)
With no technology, and the only prop a cardboard box, we’ve had a good discussion, a few learning moments and a little fun.
Posted in • Activity • Story | Short URL: http://mths.co/1172
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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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