Homeschool Chinese: Money
We stepped away from the text books these past few weeks to work on learning Chinese money, yuán / 元. We began with a presentation Teacher Shawn / Lǎoshī 老师 created to introduce us to the currency of China. One yuán (元) is is divided into 10 jiǎo (角). One jiǎo is divided into 10 fēn (分).
The symbol for the yuan (元) is used to translate the currency unit dollar as well as some other currencies; for example, the US dollar is called Měiyuán (美元), or American yuan, in Chinese, and the euro is called Oūyuán (欧元), or European yuan. Banknotes are available in denominations from 1 jiao to 100 yuan (¥0.1–100) and coins have denominations from 1 fen to 1 yuan (¥0.01–1). Thus, some denominations exist in coins and banknotes. Coins under ¥0.1 are used infrequently.
As he has done often in the past, he used a program called Nearpod to share the presentation he created with the kids. The kids enjoy being able to interact with the material presented and as a teacher, he is able to monitor their activity and measure student results. Nearpod is also a great tool when we are traveling and don’t want to miss our lessons. We’ll schedule a Skype session (for audio) and Shawn will use Nearpod to present the material visually.
We spent several minutes following along on Nearpod – images and text (English, pinyin, and Chinese characters) are combined to provide us a broader understanding of the material. On the screen shown below, we took turns reading aloud the amount shown. We then used the remainder of class time to role play a simple scenario at a bank. We took turns playing each role – banker and customer. Yuan of various denominations were laid out onto the table. The customer would approach the table and request a specific sum of money. The banker would then count out the amount requested, hand it to the customer, and thank her for her business.
We enjoyed the playfulness of the activity … until it got a little too silly when Jiejie requested more money than the bank had available or he was giving away the money to his favorite customers. Shawn and I learned some simple ground rules were necessary, specifically a daily withdrawal cap.
The following lesson, we enjoyed playing store (again, taking turns to play each role). Shawn set up a variety of items (pencils, erasers, crackers, candy, gum, postcards, coffee) on the table. Most of the words we knew, but those that we didn’t he taught us quickly before the ‘store opened’. He also had a post-it note next to each item for my benefit so I could read the pinyin if necessary.
We will be returning to this topic periodically as we prepare for our own travels. I look forward to putting our new skills to test when we visit Chinatown again in the near future.