How Much Does It Cost To Go To Disney World?
Project-Based Math Learning
The title of this post was the assignment I gave to my seven-year old daughter, Katie, recently. I am teaching a series of lessons about finance to my kids. I thought this project would be relevant because the kids often ask me and my husband to take them to places like Disney World. When we tell them, “No, it’s expensive to go there,” they often tell us to just use our credit card — they think credit cards are an unlimited resource. As a seven-year-old and a five-years-old, they do not understand the concept of income and expenses yet. This is the first project I have given which is intended to provide an overview of how money works.
First, I asked Katie to figure out how much it’ll cost for our family to go to Disney World. I told her she was allowed to use any tools she needed to figure it out. The first thing she did was to ask “Alexa” how much it costs to go to Disney World. “Alexa” replied that she didn’t know our location, so she couldn’t tell us how long it would take us to get to Disney World.
Next, she got on the computer and googled, “How much does it cost to to go Disney World.” One of the results was about Disney World tickets which was not what she needed — my husband works for Disney, and he gets free passes for our whole family to enter Disney World. Shortly thereafter, she tried to find out “How much does a train ticket cost to go to Disney World” but she didn’t know where Disney World was. She looked that up and found that it was in Orlando. After learning that there’s no train from our home to Orlando, she searched for plane tickets to Orlando instead.
A google search for plane tickets lead her to travelocity.com. She learned how to use the calendar picker, and figured out which airports are close to our home and which airport in Orlando is close to Disney World. She found out that it costs around $3,000 to fly to Orlando and stay in a hotel for seven days and that it would take her 50 years to pay for the trip using her $5 per month allowance. During this process, she practiced her month to year conversion and learned how to come up with the equations and use Google sheets to calculate.
It was a very simple question, but she learned a lot throughout the whole process. Katie said that it was a lot more difficult than the math that she did at school because in school, all of the variables were already given. She just needed to come up with the equations.
I think this exercise is very important because she learned that in real life, we need to learn to ask questions in order to get the answers we’re looking for.
At the end of the project, I told her that her grandmother will pay for our flights and hotel for our upcoming trip to Disney World so we don’t need to worry about the cost of flights and hotel stay. I just want her to know how much it costs relative to her allowance so that she will appreciate her grandmother’s generosity and ultimately, I want my kids to know how math is used in the real world so that they’ll appreciate the math that is being taught at school. They shouldn’t have to wonder why it is useful to study math.
Have you tried a project like this with your child? If not, try out this project or something similar! Let me know how it went in the comments.