Saturday, January 14, 2012

MLK Day of Service - integrating math with "30 Days" : Minimum Wage

While many school districts opt to take Monday off, my district is celebrating our second annual day of service. Every grade level has its own project that focuses on social change and service learning. My 7th grade team is extremely fortunate to receive another visit from Mr. Allan Law. Students will make sandwiches all afternoon that Mr. Law will  pick up at the end of the day to distribute to the homeless around the Twin Cities.

Click the picture on the right to go to his organization, Project The photo is from a Kare 11 News feature on the upper right corner of the page that you can click and watch. Mr. Law is a very down-to-earth speaker, having been a Minneapolis teacher for over 30 years, and he communicates the realities of poverty and homelessness to students very effectively.

We are also watching the "Minimum Wage" episode of Morgan Spurlock's show "30 Days". He's the guy who ate McDonalds all day every day for 30 days just to see what would happen, in the movie Supersize Me!. It's quite an eye-opener, especially for kids, when they see first hand, just what minimum wage jobs actually mean for your lifestyle. I made a video guide worksheet to go with it. Sorry no key yet! I couldn't find it in my messy desk.

In this episode, Morgan and his girlfriend move to Michigan and leave their credit cards behind. They get minimum wage jobs and the only decent apartment they can afford, and try their best to survive for 30 days on what little money they can make. Since the show was made in 2005, minimum wage has increased to $7.25, but costs of basic necessities, medical treatments and public transportation have also increased substantially. Spurlock doesn't shy away from talking about the fact that minority populations and recent immigrants (both legal and illegal) make up a very high proportion of minimum-wage earners. I think even Martin Luther King Jr. himself would be proud of what we're doing, and to know that his message has not been forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. What a great activity! I teach and live in an affluent community and kids have no clue about the cost of living.