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Investigating Religious or Cultural Spending Trends

The purpose of this curriculum unit is to have students investigate the spending patterns for religious or cultural practices and hypothesize how these trends affect local businesses. For example, during Ramadan, students who usually visit a corner store for snacks every morning, will not stop or shop. The hope is for student teams to see the ripple effect of their spending and to reflect upon the connection of performing these practices to their beliefs, and to learn about various religious and cultural practices
Students will be grouped homogeneously according to their religious or cultural affiliation and choose a practice, ritual, custom or holiday on which to focus. The students will interview local clergy and/or business owners as a way to investigate the influence of their spending. Students will be required to hypothesize the impact to their community, collect data, make a chart and present their findings to the class. The project requires approximately 7-10 class periods spread over about 4 weeks.
Students will use a planning template to itemize and organize their investigation. The teacher will model the expectations for each task with a sample scenario and data. While students are presenting their projects, their classmates are actively listening and encouraged to ask questions. The project ends with a self-reflection assignment to stimulate the students to connect the external and internal impact of the specific religious practice.

Catherine Michini
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