Today's home economics curriculum must address technological advances, cost analysis and communication skills. By developing activities that emphasize real-life challenges, students can learn to master the skills needed for home economics while reinforcing the lessons learned in other courses.
Starring in Your Own Informercial
Present your class with a budget of $5,000 to cover all the appliances needed in a new home. Give each student a specific appliance to study, such as washing machine, blender or food processor. Each student must decide which current product on the market is the best, and make a presentation to the class, selling them on his choice. He must include price comparisons and technological advances, as well as why it is superior to other products. Additionally, each student must prove that whatever the cost of their chosen appliance, it still fits into the budget. For example, a student who argues for spending $2,500 on a high-end refrigerator must demonstrate that by buying a used washer and dryer and a basic stove, the fridge still fits in the budget. This activity teaches communication skills, analysis and budgeting.
Have each student design a backyard shed for a specific activity, such as a playhouse, storage unit or outdoor office. They must build a model and present a budget for materials. Have the students contact local contractors for rough estimates. Ask a building inspector or contractor to come in and speak about cost-cutting measures. Each student must then present a new budget for their project that is 20 percent lower than their original. This activity emphasizes cost analysis.
Give each student a $200 budget to feed a family of four with specific criteria, such as a family with a toddler, vegan daughter and father who is allergic to dairy. Using weekly supermarket circulars, coupon sites and other money-saving techniques, each student must present one week's menu of healthy meals, including recipes and the actual cost of the food involved. Each day's food must meet the recommended daily allowances from the nutritional pyramid. This activity emphasizes nutrition and budgeting.
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