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Friday, March 23, 2012

Toothpaste Millionaire, Part 2

As was promised, our book club gathered this past week to tackle the last half of Jean Merrill's (affiliate link) The Toothpaste Millionaire.  The Architect's wife did an amazing job of showing how useful basic math skills are in everyday life.  


As I mentioned in Part 1 of our unit study, the story details how a young Rufus Mayflower concocts a budget-friendly recipe for toothpaste, puts forth a little entrepreneurial/sales effort, and ends up becoming a millionaire.  To illustrate the concept of saving money by opting for "homemade" instead of store bought, the Architect's wife decided to lead the kids in calculating how much each family would save by making their own dishwashing soap instead of purchasing it at the store.

The children were immediately able to see the valuable use of consumer math.


Next they headed to the kitchen to whip up their own version of dishwashing soap by combining equal parts of Borax and Washing Soda.



They made a small supply for each family.



After a snack, they looked at the recipe for an all-purpose cleaner made with equal parts of Dawn dish soap and vinegar.  With some quick calculations, they were able to see how sometimes a homemade version is not necessarily as economical as buying an off-brand...but that homemade recipes had other substantial benefits such as better results and safer ingredients than the store-bought varieties.  The kids concluded that it would be worth their time and effort to make a few spray bottles of it.  (As a side note, I started using this VERY cleaner a week ago and have been absolutely amazed at the results...especially on my shower walls!)



After a small side-track to make the all-purpose cleaner, they refocused their attention on their original product...the dishwashing detergent.  They gathered in the living room to brainstorm some product names, tag lines, and advertising concepts.  They made a list of the benefits of their detergent vs. other name-brand dishwashing cleaners and agreed upon a basic plot scenario for a commercial.
  

They ended up voting for "Wonder Wash:  It's a WONDER how it washes so well." 



With video camera in hand and an assistant director by her side, the Architect's wife filmed a one minute ad.




Sweetie Pea was enlisted to be the "house wife" in the infomercial and as the picture shows, really got into her role.


We ended the morning by having a short premier viewing of their acting prowess.


Much to the delight of the Hubs who designs logos/packaging, ads, and audio commercials for a living, Sweetie Pea and Super Boy rushed home and whipped up their own logos/labels for their jars of Wonder Wash.

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