Working at the car wash (Levels 3 – 4+)
Context for learning
In this activity students hold a car wash at school to raise money for a specific purpose (eg: to donate to a
charity, to purchase class games for wet days, to finance a class party, etc).
The purpose of this activity is to highlight financial thinking to students and provide them with an
understanding of the key financial messages:
 Financial planning is important for personal and business financial success.
 We need to consider risks before we make a financial decision.
Learning areas
English, The arts, Health & PE, Languages,
Mathematics, Science, Social sciences, Technology
Learning outcomes
Students will be able to:
1. take an active role in a fund-raising venture
2. prepare and budget and record their
expenditure and income using a cash book.
Key competencies
Resource requirements
Financial capability progressions
Money
 Use coins and notes for transactions and
calculate correct change.
Spending
 Investigate different ways to get value for
money when spending.
Budgeting and financial management
 Create a simple budget for an activity or event,
prioritising 'needs' and 'wants'.
Setting financial goals
 Create a plan for short term and long term
saving based on personal goals.
Identifying and managing risk
 Identify types of financial risks to individuals,
families and communities and discuss ways of
managing them.
Values
 Cash book template
Thinking
Excellence
Buckets assessing and managing risks:
 Identifying,
 Setting financial goals and achieving them.
thinking
about
what
could
go
wrong
with
new
Innovation,
inquiry and curiosity
 Hose pipes
opportunities
Thinking creatively, critically, and reflectively to:
financial
Car wash
detergent over time and making
decisions
to
avoid
or
minimise
risks.
 set and achieve personal financial goals
 Sponges
Participating
 analyse and solve financial problems.
 Peopleand
withContributing
cars
 Planning and organising: setting financial goals,
establishing budgets, establishing a timeline,
making
etc.
Teaching
anddecisions,
learning sequence
to others
1.Relating
The teacher
explains to the students that they are going to offer a car washing service at school to raise
forwith
a nominated
purpose.
The
teachertoand students brainstorm possible ways that the profits
 money
Working
others and
in teams:
listening
from
car wash others
could be
and the
encouraging
to used,
share eg:
the give the money to a charity, purchase resources for the classroom
orresponsibilities
PE shed, have and
a class
trip
or in
class
party, etc.
take
part
actioning
2. Students
financialuse
decisions.
a decision grid or have a vote to decide how they will spend the profits from the car wash.
3. The
students
and
teacher make
a list
of all theof
equipment that they will need to hold a car wash.
Being
fair and
responsible:
taking
ownership
Equipment
should
include:
buckets,
hose
pipe/s,
water supply, sponges, car wash detergent, etc. The
your financial responsibilities and decisions
teacher
offersmindful
to sell and/or
while being
of howhire
theythe
willnecessary
affect equipment to the students for a ‘price’ which will be
reimbursed
to the teacher / school out of the profits from the car wash.
others.
4.Managing
The estimated
self set up costs for the car wash are recorded onto a budget template.
5. The
students
think
their
potential customers for the car wash could be and estimate how
Using
initiative
andabout
drive:who
being
enterprising
many
cars they could
wash
during
a morning.
They discuss strategies to increase their productivity so
and resourceful
to earn
your
income
and
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spending and saving wisely, thus achieving
your financial goals and plans.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
that they can wash as many cars as possible – while retaining quality control. Students may test out their
calculations at this stage. The students decide on a suitable fee that they could charge people for a car
wash and calculate their potential earnings. They update their budget with this information.
The students select a date for the car wash and advertise the event in the school newsletter.
The students identify the things that could go wrong with their fund raising venture, eg: wet weather,
faulty hose pipe, lack of customers, etc. They put plans in place to try and manage the risks, e.g. have a
postponement date scheduled, have back up hose pipes, ensure that advertising reaches a wide audience
and that the car wash is reasonably priced, etc.
The students are assigned roles for the car wash such as money collector, cash book recorder, hose pipe
operator, directors of traffic, car scrubbers, bucket fillers, dirty water collectors, etc.
The car wash is held and the revenue is counted. The students pay back the teacher for the equipment
charges and calculate their profits. This financial information is recorded onto a cashbook template.
Students spend their profits as planned.
Reflective questions for discussion
1. Students reflect on the amount of profits that they made from the car wash and describe how they feel
about their fund-raising efforts. They consider the hours they have spent completing this venture, and
estimate their hourly rate of profit per person.
2. Students reflect on the variations to budget.
3. If you could repeat this fund-raising activity, what could you do differently to achieve a larger revenue?
4. Can you think of other ways to raise money?
5. What key financial messages can we write for our display wall?
6. How well did the group apply the enterprising attributes during your planning and car wash? How woud
you apply the enterprising attributes differently next time?
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