Post 10 – Big Babies in Class

This week’s prompt:

Photo of the week – take a picture of something that happened in class and tell us all about it.

This is a photo during our second auction of the year.  I’ve been really impressed with the items that our auctioneers have been bringing; I’ve wanted to actually get some of the stuff.  This massive baby head wasn’t cheap paper either, it was a durable foam.

This year during auctions, my first two class periods brought up that they felt people should only be able to buy one auction item.  In the past, people with a lot of money would get 2-3 things, and when you only have about 5 items at the auction, that’s a lot.  Of course, everyone started out at the same amount of money so it’s capitalism at it’s finest.  When I asked my third period about it, a few students really opposed it.  They said ‘what’s the point of making a bunch of money if you can’t even buy a lot of things in the auction!’  Someone proposed the idea of a tax.  I thought perhaps we could do a tax that raised as you bought more items.  I proposed the following:

1 item – tax free
2 items – 5% tax on total
3+ items – 10% tax on total

The students who were originally opposed to a one-item limit still weren’t happy about this but were willing to compromise.  I keep saying students but it’s really one student.  And this student actually owns his own business outside of school; he lives near a golf course and will go and collect golf balls and resell them to golf outlets.  He saves up golf balls for 6 months at a time and then will turn them in and gets several hundred dollars for it.  Perhaps since he’s had a taste of the real world of economics, he’s wanting class to be similar.  That student ended up buying two items and completely forgot about the tax.  It was kind of funny.  He was like DANG IT I FORGOT ABOUT THAT!  MAN GUYS WHY DID YOU AGREE TO THAT!

Last year we had a few more successful businesses where students would sell items directly to one another for about 5 minutes after the auction.  One girl made a killing selling ‘unicorn poop’ (aka slime putty).  Now students are just bringing some candy and selling it pretty cheap.

Before our auctions, I have students put money aside for their goals.  They have a charity goal and a ‘buy desk’ goal.  Some students have abandoned the buy desk goal because they feel they won’t really save much money in the long run (they don’t have to pay rent anymore once they buy their desk).  One student said ‘my parents give to a charity already so do I have to give to charity.’  I told them that I really wanted them to practice giving money and really it wasn’t about the charity, it was about them learning to sacrifice a little for a cause or group of people they felt strongly about.  I told them that giving money is hard, and we get the opportunity to practice it because it’s important; if they have a hard time giving pretend money, it won’t be much easier when they’re making real money.  That seemed to resonate with a few of them.

I like Bankaroo for the goals feature.  Once students put money into a goal, they can’t take it out unless they delete the goal.  Also when it gets filled, they can’t delete the goal and have the money go back into their account, they money is basically just gone.  It also emails me whenever they reach their goal so I set up a canned message for instructions to send students when they reach their goal:

Congratulations on meeting your charity goal!  To give to the charity do the following:

  1. Find the email from earlier this semester that showed what charity you’d give to and what your parents agreed to give (try searching “Giving To Charity” and it should pop up)
  2. Click REPLY-ALL to that email
  3. Copy the following into that reply-all and change what’s bold:

Hi everyone!  I’m excited to say that I was able to save $1000 for charity in my classroom economy 😀  Mom & Dad, that means we get to give $_____ to INSERT CHARITY NAME HERE.  The link to the giving page is in the email below.  

If I’m able to save up $1000 again before the end of the year, I’ll let you know!
And that’s it.  Your parents will then be able to use that link from the original email to give.
To keep track of how much money we’ve given as a class, fill out THIS form on how much real money you were able to give and who you gave it to.
Way to go to save to give to a cause you felt was important!

So far, $100 in real money has been donated to a diabetes research fund 🙂  Hooray!
By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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