Getting the students to a place where they could go shopping was a little daunting. Not only do they need to know the names of foods (our vocabulary focus), but also the types of money used and exchange rates. For a point of reference, students received a copy of a grocery ad from Spain.
In class the next day, we discussed the Euro, since the brochure was from Spain, and looked at exchange rates. We even did a little math practice, too! Then we looked at the exchange rates for the Chilean Peso. We did a little more math and had a conversation about the differences. This was a sneaky way to start teaching bigger numbers and to encourage students to use what they already know.
It was so fun to open their eyes to do the differences between different currencies and cultural differences. While we focused on Chile and Spain, it could really be any two (or three) countries. The economies of Chile and Spain are so different, though, that they seemed to make for a clear contrast.
The class was divided into 4 groups, with 2 groups receiving the same recipe. One group for each recipe shopped in each country. Students broke down the ingredients and started shopping. (Jumbo grocery store in Chile, Carrefour grocery store in Spain)
Now it was time to compare. Was the Euro really worth more? Is it better to live in Chile? Is my dollar worth more there?!?!
There were so many cultural connections and comparisons the students made. Students recognized that certain items cost more in one country than in another and determined that it had to do with season. Others realized that the products were the same as in the US, but that brands and containers had a different look. It was incredible to watch them figure out the pieces and to begin to make cultural connections.