Monday, 25 April 2011

Lemonade for Sale - a lesson in bar graphs, resources and advertising

I bought a stack of MathStart books some time ago and Emily recently expressed interest in a number of them, including "Lemonade for Sale". 

The children in the book need to repair their clubhouse and decide to make and sell lemonade to raise funds for this.  They make a bar graph to show their sales figures over a one-week period.


This is a Level 3 book and may not have been my first choice for Emily.  The MathStart books (there are 63 of them!) are categorised into Level 1 (for children aged 3+), Level 2 (for children aged 6+) and Level 3 (for children aged 7+) books, and being the methodical person that I am, I would have preferred to start with appropriate Level 1 books before moving to the higher levels.

But Emily really liked this book and I really like lemonade, and so I decided to look for some activities around this book.

Resources, Producers and Consumers
A worksheet on resources

The good news is that there are a number of good Lemonade for Sale resources on the web.  Using these as a basis, I've introduced concepts like "human resources", "capital resources" and "natural resources" to Emily.  We discussed what resources were used by the children in the book - for example, lemons and water were some of the natural resources used, while a jug and a freezer (to make ice) were some of the capital resources featured.  The children, who were busy that week making the lemonade and offering it for sale, constituted the human resources. 

Emily understood "human resources" very quickly, but had more problems with "natural resources".  In a funny moment though, when I asked her what "capital resources" had to be used to make lemonade, her first response was "a Thermomix", which is the magic machine which we use at home to make lemonade in all of five seconds!

We then did a craft activity to reinforce some of these concepts. I presented Emily with some coloured cardboard, Japanese origami paper, orchids (which Emily had helped me pick from a vase of flowers at home earlier that morning), sticky tape and a pair of scissors, and asked her to make a "product" which she could sell. 

After some discussion with my sister, who helped us with the craft activity, it was decided that Emily would make a necklace.  After this was made, we discussed what the natural resources used were (the orchids) and what capital resources (the pair of scissors and the sticky tape) and human resources (the efforts and handiwork of both Emily and my sister) had been employed.  I then talked Emily through a worksheet about this activity.  I decided that it would be easier if I filled in the answers for her, but Emily dictated all the answers to me. 

 This worksheet provided an opportunity to introduce the concept of "consumer" and "producer" to Emily.  She now understands that by making the necklace for sale, she was a producer, while the buyer of the necklace (Mama or Grandma) is the consumer. 

We plan to cover some activities about advertising and bar graphs in the future.  Watch this space!

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