Soda Machine

By Activity Bank on Nov 18, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Susan N. Edwards and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Most schools have a soda machine. Filling the machine with soda and emptying the money every week is good prevocational training. The skills required include organizing, inserting, sorting, matching and counting. Additionally, students will work on money concepts and working cooperatively. Lessons include Math, Social Skills, and Independent Living Skills.


  • Soda machine
  • Soda
  • Cart (to transport soda, if necessary)
  • Money
  • Container
  • Sorting tray
  • Money rolls


  • Prior to beginning this job, show the students the machine, inside and out. Let them explore all the parts of the machine. Demonstrate how it works. Label the machine parts. Demonstrate how to fill the machine, using hand-over-hand assistance as needed.
  • This should be a weekly cooperative job, involving a group of students.
  • Assign responsibilities to each student according to individual needs and abilities. Jobs should include:
    • Bringing the soda to the machine. If the soda is stored in a different location, use a cart for transporting.
    • Opening the machine.
    • Putting the soda in the correct sections. Focus on matching, inserting, positioning and organizing.
    • Emptying the money.
    • Sorting and counting the money, and putting the money into bank coin rolls.


  • Have the students go to the bank in the community and deposit the soda machine money.
  • If a soda machine is not available at the school, have the students set up a student store/snack bar where they can sell soda, juice and snacks to students and staff.