Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lesson Ideas Using “Practical Money Skills for Life”

As summer approached near the end of the last school year, I found a great new financial education website called Practical Money Skills for Life. Credit card behemoth Visa, along with consumer, educational and governmental organizations, created lesson plans and a comprehensive website to teach these skills at all grade levels. I used their site to build a four-day Algebra I unit that would review many skills we had studied while also focusing on real-life skills.

There are PowerPoint presentations you can show your students that provide answers to many of the questions in the handouts, but there's just too much content here and a lot of it just won't work with most students. I skipped some sections altogether and scavenged other parts to only the most important stuff. If you have more time, you should certainly use more of these materials. You'll see that the 14 lessons from the “Teens” section have been pared down to just a few relevant activities.

If you spend some time discussing the reasons behind the activity, asking thought-provoking questions and such, you'll really get them into it (as with any good lesson).

You can download all of the materials together, including the teacher's guides and presentation notes, but you will need to create a free account at the site. I think most of you will be able to create pretty good lessons around the activities I'm linking to directly:

Day 1: Budgeting & Rental/Lease Agreements
Do Now question: Do you have a job? If so, where do you work? If not, how do you get money to pay for things?Day 2: Bank and Credit Card Balances and Statements
Do Now question: Do you have a checking account or other bank account? If yes, how well do you keep track of your money? If not, how do you keep track of your money?
  • Reading a bank statement: Activity 6, pgs 5-8
  • Reading a credit card statement: Activity 8, pgs 4-5
  • Balancing a checkbook: Activity 6, pgs 3-4
Day 3: Staying Out of Financial Trouble
Do Now question: Imagine you are living on your own. Make a list of all the bills you would be responsible for.
Day 4: Online Project
[You'll need internet access for these activities.]
Do Now question: What are some advantages and disadvantages of using credit cards?
Back in June, I posted the homework assignment I gave students when we were doing this unit. This "Erasing Debt" activity focuses on the kind of credit loan offers you get in the mail.