While running businesses in math class provides a lot of valuable math and life lessons, it is important for me to continue connecting their adventures with micro-financing with the many concepts covered in their 6th grade curriculum. And sometimes these lessons appear out of nowhere...
On Friday, the boys revisited the loans they made in connection with Thanksgiving. We took some time to look at how much we had been repaid and what percent of their original loan that equated to. This forced them to subtract (Kiva tells them how much is still invested), and compute a percent. Each of the boys computed their own statistic, essentially checking the work of Kiva, and brought it to our community meeting. Out of 21 boys only one students loan is late in paying back. Immediately the boys calculated if this was in line with Kiva.org's statistics. Pretty close 95% vs 98.4%. We are hopeful:)
The boys companies are doing well, and we discussed when they would likely dive into lending. One group is 100% paid back and doesn't have a goal of creating larger capital so they are ready. While another group hopes to buy customized slap bands and needs more capital. In sharing these observations and realizations we talked a bit about savings and then investments. I told the boys I would be giving them each a loan in honor of Women's Day and we compared and contrasted our decision making process with the money I give them, which is part of a large portfolio (over $4000) vs their companies which are starting with earnings and a much smaller portfolio. The boys discussed field partner risk, repayment periods and personal connections to borrowers.
Monday and Tuesday afternoon's class began with revisiting our loans. The boys had questions about currency loss and I let them know we would do more with currency as we approached our unit on proportions, but explained a little of this to them. Then we revisited our Thanksgiving loans and computed the mean, median, and mode of our Field Partner Ratings. All great review!
Discussing our first loans was a great lead in to the International Women's Day lesson I had planned. After looking at Kiva's slideshow about the event, the boys spoke about the kinds of loans they wanted to make and got right into lending. I asked them to think about why they were making their loans, both objectively and subjectively and made them request their loans to me using the prompts, I notice... I wonder... and I connect to... here is what we came up with...
Benjamin writes: I notice that my person, María, is a cattle farmer in El Salvador supporting her 13 year old son's education for a bright future for him. I wonder how long it will take to pay back and what she uses her cattle for and how exactly she makes money off of it (milk or beef?). I connect because she is working for her son and to make money for her family. She is making sure her son and herself have a brighter future, and I want everyone's future to be bright.
Noah writes: I loaned to Ruth, in Kenya. I notice that she is asking for a loan for her children's tuition. I wonder if she will spend the extra money on her business. I connect, because I have an education, so I want her children to have one too.
I notice that Grace is a mother of three kids. I respect mothers and the commitment they make for their children. I wonder if she has a husband because it does not say that in her profile. I can connect to her because I live in a family with three kids and I respect the sacrifices that my mom makes to make my and my siblings life great.
I notice that the person I loaned to is married and a mother of three which means she needs money to pay for her family but she has an education and has worked hard so now she has a stable job raising cattle. I wonder if at the start it was hard for her because she was a women. I connect that she is a women doing agriculture and in the slide we saw it said that many women do agriculture.