I teach middle school math and usually use this activity near the end of the year as a fun and practical project. Adding in surprise math questions for extra "cash" as the project goes along is very fun for the students! It is a great way to practice balancing a budget and seeing math as a practical tool in life.
Do you enjoy family vacations? Have you ever considered the time and money it takes to afford a family vacation? Saving and balancing a money account is tedious but the payoff can be great! Let's see what you can accomplish with various scenarios and budgets. Who can plan the best vacation for the least amount of money?
Working in pairs, students will draw envelopes from a bag. Each envelope will provide a balance sheet, a budget amount, a family scenario (how many kids, married, pets?, etc.) and a list of vacation needs (hotel, airfare vs. driving, food, fun activities, etc.)
Each pair must research various vacation ideas based on their "family", budget, and needs. Using math, students will budget and record the money spent and keep a balance sheet. The goal is to create the best vacation without blowing your budget!
When the teacher hits the buzzer - spontaneous math problems will be handed out. Correct answers can earn extra cash for the vacation!
* Students must use their balance sheets and their given budget to keep a tally on their "money".
1. Choose a vacation destination within 200 miles of current hometown.
2. Plan/Price/Decide to drive or fly to that location based on given budget. If you plan on flying - you must research prices for your given "family".
3. Choose and budget for a hotel or resort. Don't forget to budget for meals!
4. What activities are near your vacation destination? What will you family do and what will it cost?
students will use the following websites to help their research:
Balanced Budget sheet was kept
tracking money spent and money
"earned" through math problems.
(15 pts. possible)
Vacation destination met criteria per
instructions and cost for travel was
included (10 pts. possible)
Price per meals were calculated
for all family members (10 pts. possible)
Entertainment choices were made and
prices for entry tallied for the vacation
(10 pts. possible)
Family Vacations require more than packing the sunscreen and having a good time! Now that you better understand the effort and financial budgeting that goes into planning a family getaway, you should appreciate your next vacation with your family even more. Learning how to budget and maintain a balanced bank sheet is a valuable life skill. Using math everyday is essential in life as a student and as an adult.