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Passport Around the World--A Math Currency Project

Updated on July 30, 2012
Janine Huldie profile image

Janine is a published author in Only Trollops Shave Above the Knees, appears on The Huffington Post and at Confessions of A Mommyaholic.

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What is a proportion?

Proportions are statements that two ratios are equal. When we want to solve a proportion, we can use the multiplication property of equality, which is better known as cross multiplication.

Here's an example of a proportion, where two ratios are the same. We can use cross multiplication to prove they are the same.

     3    5
     - = --
     9   15

  3*15 = 9*5

    45 = 45      


They are the same!!

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Currency: How to Solve Using a Proportion..

1.00 USD=0.814311 EUR

This is the actual conversion as of today's date (7/26/2012)

So now let's say we wanted to know how much $50 USD is in Euros?

How do we do this? We do this by setting up a proportion!!

Here we go:

1 USD  =  0.814311 EUR
-----      ------------
50 USD          x


We need to solve for x in this currency proportion. So must cross multiply to get:

1x = 50(0.814311)
x= 40.71555


Now we must round to 40.72 Euros. So $50 USD = 40.72 Euros.


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The Actual Project: Passport Around the World

Students, Grab Your Passports...

I prepare a letter for my students, give the letter (will explain what needs to be done for this project) to each student who will be working on this project and go through the letter thoroughly with the students. I usually try to have 5 Groups of 5 students or so to each group. Each group will be visiting a different country. During the week, they will be working on this project. At the end of the week, I will collect each group's work and check for accuracy. Then the following week hand back the work with the corrections and have the groups go through their corrected work before they present as a group their work.

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Here is the Actual Letter to the Students:

Dear Student:

You will be traveling to a foreign country next month. You will stay for one week. Here are the tasks you need to accomplish to prepare for your trip. You need to keep a record of all information you have gathered. When math is involved, show your work on paper.

  • Check the price of a flight from the closest airport to your home that provides international flights. You may need to fly to a major U.S. city and take a flight from there to your destination. Choose dates at one week from today. Remember that you want a round trip flight. (Use: http://www.cheapflights.com/book-flights-online/)
  • You will take $450.00 U.S. dollars for food and souvenirs. Exchange them for the currency of the country you are visiting. Please investigate and write down the currency exchange rate. Write down the name of the currency.
  • Calculate the round trip mileage from you home to the destination and back home again. Do not include any mileage used for sightseeing.
  • You will also need to take money to pay for six nights in a hotel. Find the best priced hotels in your destination city and their rates. Calculate what the cost would be for six nights in the best priced hotel. How much would each cost be in the currency of your destination country? (Used booking.com)
  • You will send 8 postcards. Each postcard costs $.50. How much is that in the currency of your destination country?
  • What is the time difference between the time at your home and the time in your destination country? How many hours difference? When you land in the destination country, what time will it be? What time will it be at home?


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But Teacher, Where Are We Going?

These countries were chosen because they each have different currencies. You may want to change the choices. I like to write the choices on slips of paper and have students choose a slip from a basket. That way it is random.

The five countries I have picked are as follows: Great Britain (GBP), Italy (Euro), France (Franc), Africa (South African ZAR), and Japan (Yen).

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An Example Using Rome (Italy):

1. Check the price of a flight from the closest airport to your home that provides international flights. You may need to fly to a major U.S. city and take a flight from there to your destination. Choose dates at one week from today. Remember that you want a round trip flight. (Use: http://www.cheapflights.com/book-flights-online/)

So using the above website we find that $1,487 is the total cost.

The flight leaves on Thursday Aug. 2 at 7:30 PM from New York JFK and Lands in Rome FCO. This is a non-stop, which is 8hr 30min long on American Airlines. Please note this is an overnight flight.

The return flight is Thursday, Aug. 9 at 12:25 PM from Rome FCO. And lands at 4:20 PM in New York JFK and is also non-stop and is 9hr 55min on American Airlines.

So how can we answer the original question? Let's look at what we learned earlier that: 1.00 USD=0.814311 EUR. This again is the actual conversion as of today's date.

So we need to find out how much $1,487 USD is in Euros?

How do we do this by setting up a proportion?

Here we go:

1 USD  =  0.814311 EUR
-----      ------------
1487 USD          x


We need to solve for x in this currency proportion. So must cross multiply to get:

x = 1487(0.814311)

x= 1210.880457

Now we must round to 1210.880457 Euros. So $1487 USD = 1210.88 Euros for a round trip flight to Italy.


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2. You will take $450.00 U.S. dollars for food and souvenirs. Exchange them for the currency of the country you are visiting. Please investigate and write down the currency exchange rate. Write down the name of the currency.

So yet again from earlier we found that: 1.00 USD=0.814311 EUR. This is the actual conversion as of today's date.

So we need to find out how much $450 USD is in Euros?

How do we do this by setting up a proportion?

Here we go:

1 USD  =  0.814311 EUR
-----      ------------
450 USD          x

We need to solve for x in this currency proportion. So must cross multiply to get:

x = 450(0.814311)

x= 366.43995

Now we must round to 366.43995 Euros. So $450 USD = 366.44 Euros is what you have for souveniers.


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3. Calculate the round trip mileage from you home to the destination and back home again. Do not include any mileage used for sightseeing.

The distance from New York to Rome is ??. The scale for the map is 1" = 1910.222 miles. So now we measure the distance of NUY to Rome to find out it 2.25" on the map. How will we find out what that is in miles. Set up a proportion!!!

1   =       1910.222
-----      ------------
2.25           x
x = 4297.9995 

This rounds to 4298 miles from NY to Rome. So to find out round trip we need to multiply 4298 x 2 = 8596 miles.


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4. You will also need to take money to pay for six nights in a hotel. Find the best priced hotels in your destination city and their rates. Calculate what the cost would be for six nights in the best priced hotel. How much would each cost be in the currency of your destination country? (Used booking.com)

The best deal is at the JC Hotel for $472.89 USD.

1 USD  =  0.814311 EUR
-----      ------------
472.89 USD          x

We need to solve for x in this currency proportion. So must cross multiply to get:

x = 372.89(0.814311)

x= 385.0795288

Now we must round to 385.0795288 Euros. So $472.89 USD = 385.08 Euros is what you will pay for the best priced hotel.


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5. You will send 8 postcards. Each postcard costs $.50. How much is that in the currency of your destination country?

8 x .50 = $4.00 USD

1 USD  =  0.814311 EUR
-----      ------------
4 USD          x

We need to solve for x in this currency proportion. So must cross multiply to get:

1x = 4(0.814311)

x= 3.257244

Now we must round to 3.257244 Euros. So $4.00 USD = 3.26 Euros is what you will pay post cards.


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6. What is the time difference between the time at your home and the time in your destination country? How many hours difference? When you land in the destination country, what time will it be? What time will it be at home?

Rome is 6 Hours ahead of NYC. So if it is 12 PM in NYC, it is 6 PM in Rome. You will land 8 1/2 later on a non-stop flight from the earlier flight information. So if add 8 1/2 hours to 10:30 pm, then it will be 4 AM NYC Time and 10 AM in Rome.

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Summing It Up...

I love this lesson, because it is another hands-on lesson using traveling to foreign lands that some many kids dream of seeing and visiting if they haven't already. Now, when they do think about visiting they will remember a bit about proportions and how to solve currency conversions if you want to be able to spend money in these other countries even after the topic and test are long over and behind them. And as a teacher that is truly something you hope for that the student takes away something from your lesson and doesn't just forget it once the test is long gone! Anyone who has read any of my other math teaching articles previously will know from them that I am a strong believer in using stuff that interests middle school students to help them learn many of the basic concepts that are a requirement. I truly enjoy engaging my students and showing them how we can use math in everyday life and believe this lesson is another one that does just that.


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    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 6 months ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Blond Logic and I truly couldn't agree with you more with hands on and real life situations in teaching to help kids learn better.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 6 months ago from Brazil

      I love it when teaching can be meaningful. This is a great idea to show kids how math can be used. When they understand how they can apply it, they learn better and retain the information.

      It's a great idea.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Ketih, seriously thank you so much for saying that about me, but I really just wanted to help others understand this concept better if possible. Also, thank you for bookmarking and hope that when you d go to England this will help you out some. Thanks as always Keith :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Stephanie, I too know adults who have trouble with money conversions and really tried to help the young kids learn this now instead of struggling later in life. Thank you for saying such nice things here about my article and for the votes too!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Michelle, as always thank you for taking the time to read my article. I am happy that you enjoyed and as we have spoken about before we both quite enjoyed making sure our lessons had as much real world examples as possible. Thank you also for sharing and tweeting this too :)

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      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      You are seriously a great mathematician, Janine! I never had a good knack for math like this; however, I'm definitely bookmarking this hub for future reference! (Planning on going to England or something when I graduate). I agree with Rema, you are truly creative and dedicated to your field!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      What a terrific lesson for your students! They learn so much more than math with a project like this. I know adults who can't figure out how to convert money or even find the time differences between two countries. Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      What I like about this lesson is that it show students how Maths is put to in the real world. They won't ask "how can we use this when we go to work" etc. A great hub!! Thanks for sharing, and I share as well as tweet.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Rema, thank you for saying that I am creative. I am duly not an artist and always thought I was the least creative, but so ice to hear that maybe I have a glimmer of creativity runnin through me :). Thank you for your comment and continued support too!!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Janine,

      My God! I am sure creativity runs in your blood Janine. Not only that, but your dedication to your profession shines through this hub. Unbeatable!!!!!! Lovely. I enjoyed it so much that I can't explain it in mere words. fantastic hub. When adults like me want to solve such problems, children would be more enthusiastic in doing this. Beautiful. Keep it up Janine. Cheers, Rema.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Daisy, thank you for stopping by and for your kind comment too! Very much appreciated :)

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Janine,

      This is a very innovative idea. Thanks publishing this Hub.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Docmo, thank your very kind words on my currency lesson plan here. I honestly tried so hard over the course of my teaching career to make my lessons as interactive and engaging as possible for my students and am so happy to share them all with all of you. Thank again so much :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      What a wonderful project to learn mathematics through 'real life' issues and problems. Children will be familiar with their parents wrestling with such conundrums during holiday and this gives them a great insight and inspiration to solve these problems - interactive, interesting and inspirational. Awesome hub, Janine.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Joseph, I do agree Math can totally be fun and so glad I am not the only person who knows this and believes in this. I will definitely look into you hub that you wrote on proportions when I get a free moment. Thank you so much for your kind words and compliment on this one. Very much appreciate it!!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Loved it. Knowing about proportions and ratios. Just did a hub about them 6 months. Your ideas are freaking excellent. Kids do better this way. Math can be found... and we know it!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Josh, glad to give you a bit of refresher and I guess the feeling of support, kindness and encouragement is completely mutual and so grateful for it too!

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Janine,

      Yes I do love math, but haven't taken it in forever! So, I am always glad for the refreshers! You are very welcome for the support and kindness, and I thank you for your encouragement as well!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      I never knew you loved Math Josh, but yet another reason I think we get along so very well. Thank you for your input here and happy to hear that I made proportions clear. Thank you also for continued kindness and support!!

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Janine,

      Awesome hub, very informative and great teaching tool! Did I ever tell you that I love math? LOL You made proportions very clear and easy to understand here! Thanks for this great math hub Janine!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank you so much Carly and please do share. I am strong believer in educators being able to share with other educators. My first teaching job (which was in a nightmare district) we forbidden to share our ideas and let's just say that was one of many reasons that I decided to leave that position. That said thank you again hub sister!!!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      This is a thought provoking hub! Way to go. I am going to share this with my neighbor who teaches middle school math. So proud of my hub sis.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Bill for your comments and support on this one. I honestly loved this idea and program. As you know I am all for education including real world applications whenever possible and to try to incorporate some sort of fun message with these lessons too. Nothing worse than a boring math lesson that has been chalked and talked to to death. Thanks again for everything my friend and just can't say this enough lately!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We had this program in several schools that I taught at and the kids were really enthusiastic about it.

      I agree that it is a great lesson for learning. Great job Janine of outlining the program. I'm with you on this one all the way!