Students spend a lot of time researching and making comparisons on various colleges from location to majors offered and cost, so it only makes sense to spend some time looking at options of financing their ambitions. While I am no expert, going through this process with my daughter last year has at least upped my comfort level with the material and terms (at least a little bit). Because of this I wanted a simple way for students to learn what options were out there to help them afford college so they could at least have a starting point. This assignment asks students to take an article on college loans and not only read it, but create a graphic organizer around the theme to help them become more familiar with the information. While students often have additional questions specific to their circumstances, our school also offers a financial aid night for students and their parents which allows them to ask those questions and get the answers that I cannot afford them.
While listening to the news on the radio, it was announced that in Pennsylvania 1 in every 5 children lives below the poverty level. I’m sure this number varies from one state to the next but I thought it to be a rather scary statistic. This lesson and the included activities has students learning about poverty, what causes it, and an engaging simulation to see how easy it could be for some to live in poverty no matter how hard they try to avoid it.
Habits are a part of life. Sometimes they creep up on us and sometimes we have to work hard to achieve them. For example, we don’t think about the fact that we might stop for coffee on our way to work every morning, but we certainly know how difficult it is to eat clean or exercise on a daily basis. Some habits are free and the benefits are priceless, but others are costly, not only to our wallets, but also to our health, our emotions and our relationships. This lesson has students looking at the true cost of the habits that might be part of their lives now or in the future. Hopefully, this activity will help them to really think about the consequences associated with habits before they decide to continue them or help them form healthier ones.
Many of my students can’t wait to finish high school and enter the adult world. I try to encourage them to enjoy their lives as teens because with adulthood comes much responsibility! They truly understand that statement after completing the activities that one must be responsible for as adults such as calculating paychecks in order to create a budget and finally the one that everyone “loves” so much, paying taxes. These are all real life, practical skills that students are going to need to know how to perform once they are out on their own. This simulation was designed to give students a taste of what’s to come, using random jobs/incomes to do so. In the end, while students understood the need to know how to do all of the simulation, they weren’t quite as eager to be on the fast track to adulthood!
Problem solving is one skill that has to be taught. If you think about it, we really want students who can problem solve, not memorize a whole bunch of facts or methods for doing something. This lesson happens to be about cell phone plans since it is a problem that students can easily understand yet is more complex so even our brightest students will be challenged in figuring it out.
In adult life there are many practical questions that require problem solving skills and a little math. This lesson has students figure out the benefits and costs to joining a shopping club like Sam’s Club. Guide your students through a real life case study that requires lots of critical thinking, a little math and the chance to use Excel!
This lesson follows a case study of a busy couple that is challenged by one of their coworker’s to figure out whether it is cheaper to make sandwiches or buy them from Subway. Students get a chance to apply their critical thinking & problem solving skills to a practical problem as well as get a chance to learn basic math in Excel.
Teaching personal finance can be a challenge especially if you have all the old, outdated resources that emphasis doing just about all your budgeting, check writing, goal setting, etc on paper. Students start the eye roll as soon as you hand out the “how to write a check” worksheet. Granted, they should know how to fill out a check even if they only use their debit card now. The world is changing and we want students to be turned on to being good financial stewards. This means we need to help them find technologically advanced ways to keep track of their spending, budget, and set goals. One of my personal favorite free personal finance websites is Mint.com.