This lesson was taught as a consumer economics unit in a senior government class. During 4 weeks of class (a block-scheduled 96 minute class) the students had a variety of tasks to accomplish. They continued working with chapters in the government textbook while setting aside blocks of time during the week to work on the economics unit. What follows is the schedule for this project:
- Introduce economics Unit (96 min)
- Discuss the skills needed to budget and make economic decisions
- Show video interviews of 18 to 20 year olds that are in debt
- Discuss major household bills (all students bring in copies of bills for Wed.)
- Randomly assign students their incomes and "status"...married, single, or roommate.
- Discuss the different charges in household and utility bills based on household occupancy and establish the standard utility bill for the class to use on budget sheets (30 min.)
- Handout month #1 worksheet (This sheet is set to 'flow' mathematically...students plug in numbers for income, bills, savings, taxes, groceries, birthday gifts etc.)
- Students also create a grocery list with prices for one month of food.
- Collect budget #1 and grocery list with prices & coupons (30 min.)
- With the next 3 budgets the students turn in one of three projects with each budget. (each student chooses the order of projects based on financial stability...students with lower incomes often save a little bit each month and plan the vacation for month #4)
- Plan a dinner for 4 adults...grocery list & prices (to be compared in class to dining out)
- Plan a vacation with ALL expenses
- Plan to research an investment and calculate interest
- Handout budget sheet #2
- Collect sheet #2 and first of three projects
- Address any student questions: What has been difficult about the budget? Students are asked to pick two numbers that correspond to a list of positive and negative economic occurrences. (for example...win $20 in lotto, receive birthday gifts, have a baby, pay off $100 in credit cards, etc.) Make sure to change the order of these positives and negatives with each class
Handout budget sheet #3. At this point, the amount of time spent answering question will vary. I like to set aside class time for students to work individually on their budgets or the government chapter we are studying...that way the students can "conference" with me individually. For weeks three and four the students study chapters in the text relating to government budgeting and spending, trade, and consumer economics. (This goes on for several weeks after the budgets are completed...it allows the students to contribute a more personal perspective to the textbook chapters.)
- Collect sheet #3 and second of three projects
- Open day for catch up, questions, and one-on-one with teacher
- Handout sheet #4
- Collect sheet #4 and third of three projects
Summary of events...each student is asked to present to the class on how they made their decisions - what was easy, what was difficult, what would they do differently, and how a different income might have affected their decisions.
Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.
Author(s): Skip Schmidt (email@example.com) Lisa Bianchi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
School: LaSalle High School - St. Ignace, Michigan
Created: April 15, 1999 - Updated: April 28, 1999