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Grade: Middle
Subject: Language

#637. Spanish "MERCADO" (Practicing NUMBERS)

Language, level: Middle
Posted Fri Sep 18 09:34:00 PDT 2009 by Mary Beth Sinischo (Mary Beth Sinischo).
Oxford Middle School, Oxford, MI
Materials Required: Envelopes, printed out pictures, play money
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Spanish umbers, general economics


This activity reinforces recently learned numbers 0 -- 100. This is for a Spanish 1 class, early in the school year.

Teacher Prep:
Print out a bunch of random objects using clip art or picture files of any kind. I suggest about 7 different objects of varying "value." For example, I printed out a few pages that had roughly 12 manzanas on each page, a couple of pages with 12 libros on each page, etc.. That way, I ended up with about 48 total small pictures of manzanas, about 24 libros, etc.. You can decide whether or not you want to include the label of the object in Spanish as well. (I did . . . even though they haven't learned most of the object words yet.) In addition to manzanas and libros, I also printed out some pictures of perlas (pearl necklace), some dolls, watches, etc.. The pictures of all the dolls are the same, the pictures of all the watches are the same, etc.. In the end, you'll end up with a whole bunch of little pictures of about 7 various objects, multiples of each object of course. The perlas were my most expensive item, the manzanas the cheapest, and then everything else in between.

You want a lesser amount of the expensive objects, and a whole bunch of the cheaper objects.

You may want to put the pictures onto cardstock or paste them onto index cards. I personally didn't have the time. I just cut them from regular white paper. Now that I know this activity will work, I may go back and make a nicer version of it though, to use in the future.

STEP 2: Get a whole bunch of play money. I found some at the dollar store. Try to get lots of 1's, lots of 5's, and quite a few 10's, some 20's, and even a few 50's or 100's, though not necessary.

STEP 3. Get regular envelopes . . . half the number of students you have in your largest class. You only need one envelope for each PAIR of students.

STEP 4: Determine a random value that you will assign each item/object. Determine this ahead of time. I made the pearls worth $80, the apple worth $1, and the other objects somewhere in between. And of course I have more cut out pictures of apples than pearls, because the pearls are a more "scarce resource" in the game.

STEP 5: You don't have to be exact on this, but stuff each envelope with a combination of cash and objects. At first I thought I had to begin the game with precisely the same value in each envelope, whether it was cash or objects . . . but, I quickly realized that I wouldn't have time in between classes to make sure that the value in each envelope would start back to that "equal amount." IT DOESN'T MATTER because there will be so much exchanging of money at a profit and a loss, that it simply is the luck of the draw what value they start with and what value they end up with. (That's just part of the game.)

Some envelopes may have more cash than objects, some may have more objects and less cash. It is also perfectly fine to have multiples of some objects in the same envelope, and it is also okay if an envelope doesn't have each available object. They'll have the opportunity to buy/sell/trade whatever they want during the game.

My envelopes began with a net total (cash + objects) of around $100. It can be any amount, depending on what you determine the price of the goods to be.

STEP 6: You should now have envelopes stuffed with a combination of cash and objects. Roughly, but not exactly, about the same net value (combining cash and object value).

STEP 7: (Optional): Make an overhead showing the pictures that correclate with the objects that will be sold/traded . . . and their respective pre-determined value. YOU DON'T TELL THEM THE VALUE of each object until the very end. They're not supposed to know the value of their goods. That's the fun of the game. It's whatever they manage to buy/sell it for. You'll reveal this info. at the end when you determine your "Market winner."

If you don't make an overhead, you can simply announce the value of each object at the end of the game.

Divide class into partners.
One partner will stay at his/her seat, selling the team's goods. . .hopefully at a profit.
The other partner will roam around, trying to buy objects at a good price.
As object are purchased, the one partner can bring these new goods to the other partner
and they are free to turn right around and sell them to someone else if they want. Also, as a partner sells goods, s/he will want to give cash to his/her partner as needed to
go out and make more purchases.
Teach them the phrase "CUANTO CUESTA" before the game begins. They will need to
use this as they approach a seller and begin the bartering process.
They MUST speak their number words in Spanish. IF you catch anyone saying any
number in English, you fine the team $5. Patrol the area and tell them about this
"fine" ahead of time. They hate giving up their $$!
Turn 'em loose! Encourage them to call out their prices just as vendors do in a real
market. They can make bulk discounts, like "Tres manzanas for dos dolares!" or whatever. At this level, they can speak Spanish or English, as long as their numbers are excusively in Spanish and they're saying "Cunto cuesta."
Give them about 15 minutes to conduct business. They'll get into it. You'll sometimes
overhear some inflated prices or someone selling something at a loss, but you can't interfere! They have to determine the market value of the goods, and therein lies the game aspect of it.
Ring a bell or somehow "Close" the market. Partners join together.
I handed out an index card to each pair to "do their math" on.
The rest relies on their honesty as they add up cash + goods.
Partners tally up their cash and write it down on the index card.
NEXT they tally up the value of goods they ended up with AS YOU REVEAL, one object at a time, what the pre-determined value of each good is.
Many will groan or cheer as they realize the either great or bad deals they had made.
Have them total all cash + all goods and circle their total amount on their card.

(cont. )
Then, you simply start with a number ($50) and ask students to raise their hand if their net value is this amount or more. Keep going up . . . until you ultimately end up with one team as the winner.

You can give a small prize.

They loved it. It was fun.