In a workshop, I took part in a business situation which demonstrated an application of Profound understanding of fundamental mathematics in the real world!
An overview of what was involved in this business simulation:
- We had 5,000 Euros to spend for each quarter of the year
- We had to choose a maximum of 5 items to sell for each quarter
- We had to choose what quantity of items we wanted (quantity being a basic concept which is needed to have a profound understanding of fundamental mathematics according to Ma (2010, p.104))
- We had to be careful and look at how much we were buying the item for to ensure we were not paying more for an item than it was being sold for such as the Christmas selection boxes in January.
- We had to keep track of how many items were sold and whether they could be carried over into the next quota or whether it was a ‘write off’
- We calculated how much we had spent by adding the prices together and subtracting what we had spent from the 5000 Euros or money we had to see what was left over. Therefore, through this process we were building upon each stage and adding to it over a period time which links to longitudinal coherence (Ma, 2010, p.104). Furthermore, we connected basic concepts together such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, percentages and decimals
- We had to look at multiple perspectives to see what we were going to buy and sell however, we didn’t really look at multiple perspectives from a mathematical point as we continued to use the same methods of calculations throughout the session.
However, although we tried to be tackle by what we bought by guessing what items were more likely to be bought around a certain time of year, we could have looked ahead and seen that for January there was a sale price mark-up which mattered more. For example, beans only cost 25p to buy but they were being sold for 2.50 euro and 100% were sold. Therefore, there was a ten times mark up. Consequence, if I was to do this again i would pay more attention to the price per unit that we were buying it for and the seasonal price in order to make a bigger profit.
In the future, I would like to use this activity or at least one similar to further pupils understanding and application of fundamental mathematics in the real world or in the wider society. Therefore, they could connect and link various topics together for a meaningful purpose (Ma, 2010, p.104). It would be a fun and creative task or game for the children to do and could potentially due to the relevance of the task, it could give them an interest in business as a future career. However, in order to improve this activity I would like to further gain the children’s interest as well as emphasis the relevance by having the packaging of the actual items out on desks to further emphasise the relevance.
- Ma, L. (2010) Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and United States. (Anniversary Ed.) New York: Routledge.