Interest = PTR/100
That is a formula all of us might have learnt at school at a very young age.
But what does it really mean? especially for very young children.
Forget Interest, even the concept of money is so abstract, it is not possible for very young children to understand it. That too nowadays, they do not even get to see cash & coins and physical transactions much - everything gets bought online with a swipe and punching a few numbers.
So, this is what our Grade 6 class teacher did to get the class to understand these abstract concepts. Following experience as narrated by the class teacher:
After a relatively unsuccessful “Numbers” block of teaching percentages, profit and loss to the children, my heart was pounding at the thought of starting the next Numbers block. Any Waldorf teacher will relate to the pounding of the heart phenomenon at the start of a new block. We had just come back from a 10 days trip to Belagavi and in 2 weeks we were to put up a stall in our Christmas Bazaar. When we had our first discussion about what we wanted to sell at our stall, children started from Jigar Thanda and had to be force stopped at Doughnuts. We were all over the place!
We divided ourselves in 4 groups and started to work on our ideas. Slowly as creativity gripped children, their excitement and dedication increased. They tried various artistic techniques to make their bookmarks and took feedback from other teachers. They decided on their favourite story from Grade 1 "Bremen Town Musicians" for their shadow puppet show. They began to design comic books despite me trying to convince them that a comic book will not sell at the bazaar stall. They came up with many of their favourite things to cook for food but finally managed to settle for 3 items.
Somehow with the blessings of our archangels, we decided on the following things:
1.) Food (Cookies - 3 flavours)
2.) Food (Potato salad)
3.) Refreshment (Russian tea)
4.) Entertainment (Shadow puppet show)
5.) Products (Make our own comic books)
6.) Products (Bookmarks)
7.) Products (Bamboo Calligraphy pens)
Alongside preparing for the bazaar, children in their morning lesson were working on calculating the cost of making 100 cookies, problems to identify profit or loss based on their bazaar stall situations which were now real for the children. Then we as a class costed each of our bazaar items and figured out the total cost of making them would be (Rs 8,000/-). We then wrote a formal letter to our school requesting to provide us a loan of the amount required to make our products, with a promise to return it to them one week after the bazaar with an interest of 2%. Now the children felt the tension of borrowing money from somebody and the pressure of returning it back with an added interest. Our seniors, children from Grade 7 gave us a guiding session on dos and don'ts in the stall as they had put up a very successful stall last year.
By now, the children had understood that this was serious business. They prepared a mock stall to prep selling things along with deciding a format for book keeping. They made attractive posters, tickets for the shadow puppet show, coupons for the products at their stall, marketing strategies for selling them.
The Christmas Bazaar Day arrived with much nervousness and excitement. When the stall started, it was utter chaos but the children held their ground. They picked up their pace and continued book keeping, struggled for change while handing money, worked in shifts, covered for each other, sneaked out moments to enjoy at the bazaar but did their best to raise money for their school.
They concluded the bazaar by giving out cookies to the people around. Almost everything at the stall got sold out and they successfully ran 6 shadow puppet shows house full. Now children were curious if they made more than what they had borrowed. It was a joyous moment when children counted the money and realised that they had made 179% profit on their stall. The loan was returned to the school along with the agreed interest. Children calculated money required to have an ice-cream for 25 children and 3 adults and kept that amount aside for their treat. Rest of the raised money was offered to the school fund.
At the ice-cream parlour, I overheard the children deciding to share fancy ice-creams while keeping in their budget. They were told to buy anything within 80 ₹. It was encouraging to see them to put their math skills to use and strategize to enjoy a good ice-cream.
Children seemed happy and content at the Bazaar. When I proposed that we should have a shadow puppet show for the teachers, the children said " For how much teacher?".
At that moment, I knew that it was time to end the Business Math block :-)