We began the unit by having students think about the kind of jobs there are in running a food business. We also had a finance lesson that was a collaboration with one of our parents who is a financial advisor. Each student chose the type of job they’d like (cooks, servers, accountants, etc.) from the list generated earlier. Then they were given a week’s wages in a payment envelope: Some got $1, others got $1.50, depending on the job (this was an important lesson in itself).
With their money, they were given the opportunity to purchase a bag of chips. First we had to decide how much they were willing to pay, so we took a survey. We asked how many would be willing to pay $1 for a bag of chips. We tallied that number. Then asked how many would pay .75, and tallied that, etc. down to .25. We graphed those numbers on a line graph. Then we graphed how many bags our parent volunteer would be willing to sell for each price and compared these lines. We observed where the lines intersected, and the parent shared what the whole case cost him and how many he’d need to sell at each price to break even. After this first lesson, we continued to think about pricing and breaking even vs. making a profit.