Friday, July 7, 2017

Different Breakeven Points

Party, Dancing, Dancer, Disco, SeventiesI am in Puerto Rico, attending a conference.  As part of pre-conference events, I took a tour of the radio telescope at Arecibo. 

About 50 of us boarded a charted bus and traveled about 1.5 hours to the site.  Along the way, I listened in to a conversation in which two people discussed breakeven points of conferences and other events.

As they discussed this topic, my brain sort of went Dah! because any event has to breakeven before making a profit.

This is something my students can relate to because when they become juniors and seniors, their class takes over running the concession stand at school.  They have to stock the concession stand with sodas, chips, and other snacks.  To do this, they usually get a copy of the Span Alaska catalogue, prepare an order, send it off before waiting several weeks for the supplies to arrive.

Although they use the money in their class account to purchase the supplies, I don't think their advisor has ever taken time to explain how to calculate profit.  Just think, the breakeven point for this is when they've earned the money to cover their original expenditure.  A part of the original expenditure includes the shipping to get it all out to the village.  To make this more relevant, I plan to have students calculate the amount of profit they will make by determining the amount of money they could make if they sell everything at certain prices.

If I take this idea a step further, I could have students figure out the cost of everything for the prom, including food, entertainment, and supplies.  Then they have to decide how many people need to attend to breakeven based on the price of tickets.  Then they need to look at projections of possible profit based on the number of people attending based on price. 

Students at my school tend to charge the same as in the others in the past.  I do not believe students look at the price of tickets to project attendance so they know what they should charge for maximum profit.  Most times, class advisors do not have students do any type of projections.  The standard way is to order the supplies and sell without any calculations or thought.

In other areas, students could use different types of events such as dances to do the same types of calculation.  If we tie breakeven to events students are more familiar with, maybe they will understand the concept better since these are situations they relate to or have prior knowledge.

Monday, I'll be off to another topic.  I hope you all have a wonderful day.  Take care and let me know what you think.