Friday, October 2, 2020

Currency and the Story of Trade

Just finished a fun little block on Currency with a tutoring client. It is really interesting to figure out how to do a Waldorf main lesson book via Zoom!

Currency, and the rest of the Maths of Practical Life, are typically done in Waldorf in Third Grade. I've taught this block before, using Betsy Maestro's The Story of Money as the main text. This time I also incorporated a book I recently got called What is Trade? by Carolyn Andrews

Since I've been teaching for decades I have a huge library, and I know that it's frustrating for people when I suggest lots and lots of books for a topic. I do that mostly to show that you can teach with almost anything that you have on hand and/or in your public library; I'm not saying that they're all a must-buy. For this block, I think having both of these books would be ideal, but you could do it with just one of them.

Note: It's part of an entire book series on Economics, but What is Trade? is the only one that is really a good fit with this block. Every two page "chapter" could be a story. You would have to decide how far to go (I would skip the Triangle Trade and Trade Wars for this age). The information on the Aramaeans, Phoenicians, Ancient China, the Silk Road, Maya, Inca, Ghana, Mali and Mansa Musa, Lydia, and Native Americans is really helpful, and it's nicely divided into chunks whereas with Betsy Maestro's book you have to decide where to pause.

The other books in the Economics in Action series would be a really good fit for the Sixth Grade Business Math block: What are Goods and Services?, What are Taxes?, What is Scarcity of Resources?, What is Importing and Exporting?, What is Insurance?, How do Mortgages, Loans, and Credit Work?, and What is Supply and Demand?.

For practice, there's of course real money (you can give your child a handful of coins and say, "If you can count it, you can keep it."), as well as plastic coins, coin stamps, and workbooks. You can get coin stamps for heads or tails or both. If you want to go the workbook route, I actually think the best coin counting one is by Kumon. It's really well done!

It is nice to supplement with picture books which include bartering, before you introduce how money itself came to be. You probably have a picture book on your shelf that has bartering in it.

I've posted my lesson plans from this block before, but I'm sharing these new ones because I incorporated the book What is Trade? this go-around.

Monday, September 14

Tuesday, September 15

  • recall yesterday's story and add to MLB
  • look at word sum for < helped > and list other words in the < help > family: help, help + ed, help + ful, help + ing
  • read The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum

Wednesday, September 16

  • recall yesterday's story
  • in MLB, on the left hand side of a two page spread, list the trades the old woman made along her journey by drawing them along a spiral (she begins at the outside of the spiral with plums and ends up at the center with apples)

  • notice that even though the items she traded for each time were not always equal in value, they felt fair because everyone was happy (the trades are just... like her giving the gold chain to the poor woman... they were done in kindness)

  • read Hans in Luck by the Brothers Grimm (I really like the version by Anastasiya Archipova, since she illustrates every item he trades for)

  • in MLB, on the right hand side of the same two page spread, list the trades Hans made along his journey by drawing them along a spiral
  • notice that this story does NOT feel fair (Hans is completely content at the end with nothing, but we know that he began with a lump of gold the size of his head, and we can tell from the behavior of the other characters that they weren't being completely honest with him)
  • discuss the problem of unequal or unfair trades
  • to use an item as money, people had to choose something that everyone agreed on the value of; brainstorm what that might be

Thursday, September 17

  • recall yesterday's story ("he traded a lump of gold as big as his head for a horse, he traded a horse for a cow, he traded a cow for a pig, he traded a pig for a goose, he traded a goose for a rock, he traded a rock for a drink of water")
  • read pages 3 - 13 of The Story of Money by Betsy Mastro

  • discuss more problems that can arise with trading (the thing you want to trade being lost, stolen, or damaged, or even being something that no one else wants)
  • discuss the Maya and Inca in South America (pp.10-11); Ghana and Mali in West Africa (pp.12-13); and Native Americans and wampum in North America (pp.16-17) from What is Trade? by Carolyn Andrews

  • listen to The Island of Stone Money from NPR (4:24) about the island of Yap in Oceania
  • add an interesting kind of early money to MLB

Friday, September 18

  • recall yesterday's story
  • discuss how trade is still used today, but with money as the in-between, and give the examples of chocolate and coffee from South America (p.7) from What is Trade?
  • discuss the Phoenicians in the Middle East (p.8) from What is Trade?
  • consider the Phoenician contributions to our modern alphabet (trade carries ideas... not just bananas); read about different letters from Ox, House, Stick: The History of Our Alphabet by Don Robb

More About Trade
books with examples of foods we eat that come from around the world: Bananas! by Jacqueline Foster and All in Just One Cookie by Susan Goodman

Monday, September 21

  • recall yesterday's story
  • add some favorite letters from the Phoenician alphabet to MLB
  • discuss the advent of trade with China via the Silk Road (pp.8-9) from What is Trade?
  • read A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road by Bonnie Christensen

  • add The Silk Road to MLB
  • discuss the Six Characteristics of Money and compare paper & coin money to using "Rose Quartz, the cow" as money

What Makes It Money?
for teacher background, I like this simple and clear podcast from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on the 3 functions and 6 characteristics of money: Functions of Money (8:38)

Tuesday, September 22

Wednesday, September 23

  • recall yesterday's story
  • in MLB, on the left hand side of a two page spread, draw a Spanish "piece of eight" being cut up into smaller bits
  • in MLB, on the right hand side of the same two page spread, trace each of the modern U.S. coins and write their value
  • lay out a display of U.S. coins and discuss who is on them

    penny - Abraham Lincoln

    nickel - Thomas Jefferson

    dime - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    quarter - George Washington

    half dollar - John F. Kennedy

    dollar - Dwight D. Eisenhower / Susan B. Anthony / Sacajawea

Thursday, September 24

  • recall yesterday's coin practice
  • read pages 34 - 37 of The Story of Money
  • lay a penny beside a 1 bar (red) from the Decanomial Bead Bar Box

  • build a staircase of pennies (similar to Kumon workbook p.6) and count how much each row is worth

  • lay a nickel beside a 5 bar (light blue) from the box
  • build a staircase of nickels (workbook p.16) and count how much each row is worth
  • use the coin stamps to stamp a staircase of nickels in MLB and label each row with its value

  • read Leah's Pony by Elizabeth Friedrich

Friday, Sepember 25

  • recall yesterday's coin practice
  • read The Buffalo Nickel by Taylor Morrison

  • look up the value of a rare buffalo nickel
  • add buffalo nickel to MLB
  • lay a dime beside a 10 bar (gold) from the box
  • build a staircase of dimes (workbook p.26) and count how much each row is worth
  • use the coin stamps to stamp a staircase of dimes in MLB and label each row with its value
  • compare the 1 bar, 5 bar, and 10 bar to see how much the coin values jump; discuss the two cent coin "tuppence" in Mary Poppins

Monday, September 28

  • recall yesterday's coin practice
  • read Mud for Sale by Brenda Nelson
  • practice making the sale prices with quarters (worms - 25 cents, flowers - 50 cents, kittens - 100 cents, mud - 2 cents)

  • look at 1/4 fraction pieces from the Metal Squares
  • lay a quarter beside two 10 bars and a 5 bar from the box
  • add the value of two quarters, three quarters, and four quarters using the colored bead bars
  • build a staircase of quarters and count how much each row is worth
  • review dollar symbol and cent symbol
  • use the coin stamps to stamp a staircase of quarters in MLB and label each row with its value
  • read A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
  • add drawings of a giant jar of coins and a soft beautiful chair to MLB

Tuesday, September 29

  • recall yesterday's coin practice
  • read The Penny Pot by Stuart Murphy, making the amounts with coins each time and counting them up

  • make patterns with coins and count their value
  • use the coin stamps to stamp a pattern in MLB and write its value

Wednesday, September 30

  • recall yesterday's coin practice
  • read Ideas About Choosing by John Edward Maher and S. Stowell Symmes (1969)
  • draw 8-10 things you could do with an unexpected hour of free time... and make an economic choice as to which one you'd pick
  • begin to brainstorm an imaginary business that you'd like to create

Thursday, October 1

  • recall yesterday's discussion of economic choices
  • read Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell

  • add drawing of the storefront of your imaginary business to the MLB; add drawing of several items you have for sale along with their price tags (keep prices below a dollar)
  • grab a handful of coins at random and "shop" at each other's stores (this is fun to do, even via Zoom, if you use dramatic gestures and gush over everything and talk in hoity-toity voices)

    you can also add in a few challenges for extra coin practice; for example:

    I "shopped" at R's art gallery and wanted to buy a painting of a dog for 35 cents. I showed her three dimes and three pennies and asked her if I had enough money. How much more do I need? Then I announced that, happily, I found two pennies in my shoe. Success!

    R "shopped" at my sweets shop and wanted to buy a cup of hot chocolate for 25 cents. She wanted to give me a quarter. I dramatically exclaimed that I was so sorry I had forgotten to mention this, but that I had a violent fear of quarters and they make me break out in purple spots. Is there any other way she can make 25 cents? She pretended to go out to her car and see if she had any more change, and came back with five nickels. Success!

    I "shopped" at R's store again and wanted to buy a painting of a horse for 25 cents. I showed her two dimes and two nickels and asked her if I had enough money. In fact, it was more than was needed. How much change will she give me back?

    R "shopped" at my store again, and wanted to buy a cupcake for 75 cents. She wanted to give me two quarters and five nickels. Happily, I seem to have lost my violent fear of quarters; however, I earnestly explain that my shop has a Four Nickel Limit policy. No more than four nickels are allowed in the store or, sadly, all of my hair will fall out. Is there any other way she can make 5 cents? Again, she had some extra change in her car, and she came back with five pennies. Success!

  • draw in the MLB an item that you bought at the other person's store and use the coin stamps to show how you paid for it

Friday, October 2

  • recall yesterday's coin practice
  • read Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Go to Market by Maj Lindman

  • do some more pretend shopping and coin practice with foods from the play kitchen
  • number pages, add table of contents, decorate front and back covers of MLB

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