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Fox Lane High School Students Practice Budgeting a Trip to Disney

Smythe helps a student use the cash register in the class's "store"

“Welcome to the Disney Store. How is your day going?” Fox Lane High School senior Owen Coulter stood behind a cash register greeting his peers as they brought snacks up to the counter and counted out money. The role-playing exercise was part of an engaging lesson in Brigida Smythe’s class in which students budgeted for and planned a trip to Disney.

“We were working on time management, money management, and budget in separate lessons,” Smythe said. “This was a fun way to apply those skills using an exciting format.”

To begin, Smythe asked students how much money they would have to save for a trip to Disney.

“They originally thought $35,” Smythe said. “But when they started looking at airline prices, hotels, gifts for loved ones, and more, they realized their budget might be closer to $3,500.”

Each of Smythe’s students has an imaginary job that pays $15 per hour. They had to figure out how long it would take them to save enough money for a trip. They also researched the parks and fully planned their day — from the moment they would wake up to where to have lunch and what souvenirs they would buy for loved ones.

They also used YouTube and virtual reality goggles to see what the parks had to offer.

“Look at this place! It’s cool!” said senior Rodin Madric as he experienced a safari expedition through virtual reality.

As students planned their trips, Smythe along with instructional aide ToniAnn Licata and teacher’s aides Reema Katzenberger, Averil Mathis, Hannah Heineke and Dawn McClain helped make sure students thought all their options through as they planned, asking questions like Do you shower in the morning? Do you eat first? What time do you want to have breakfast? What do you want to do after breakfast?

After finishing their schedules, students visited their classroom Disney Snack Shop and “paid” at the register. They counted out their money and made sure they got back the correct change.

“I wanted to see my students take what they were showing me on worksheets and Google Slides, and apply it to a given situation,” Smythe said. “They worked really hard to apply the skills they have been learning. It was also fun to see them begin to understand the value of a dollar and acknowledge how much money needs to be earned and saved to make something like a dream Disney trip come true.”

a student takes a virtual trip to Disney