Middle School Economics. Think your students know how much money it costs to have the things they have at home? If you teach Economics at the middle level or high school level then these activities really open the eyes of your students to the reality of budgeting their money, balancing a checking account, and choosing a career that meets their wants and needs.
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The Economics of Checks, Budgets, Stocks, College, and Savings - 5 Activities!
CALCULATING A BUDGET WITH MONTHLY INCOMES
In this activity students will practice calculating a budget using different monthly incomes with arbitrary percentages for expenses to figure out if someone with a certain monthly income will be at a surplus or shortage at the end of the month.
Students will then take part in a dice rolling activity (you provide the dice) to let fate decide for them what their monthly income will be for this activity. I usually have students come up one at a time and roll the dice under my document camera for the class to see. It hooks them because they want to see who gets the most money. Students will have to then calculate a monthly budget for the amount they rolled for, assess the information they've recorded, and make adjustments to balance their surplus or shortage to zero dollars.
Depending on the needs of your students you could also have your students partner up with someone so they can help each other by double checking their answers with each other and figuring out the calculations together. I've done this before and it has often helped the students who struggle with math. I always tell my students, "If you can push buttons on a calculator you can do this activity."
It usually takes me 2 to 3 days to do this activity with my students if I have them complete the extension activities as well. Look through it and do what is best for you and the students you teach.
There are also extension activities provided if you have time for students to figure out how much they can afford for a house and a car using standard formulas for such purchases. Then they actually have to find a house (or houses) and a vehicle (or vehicles) they can afford on their income. I would usually bring in free automobile sales magazines and free real estate magazines from the grocery store for kids to look through and cut pictures out of.
This is a great introductory activity for students because in my 15 years teaching middle school I can tell you that most students start asking money questions after doing this activity. They are curious about how much money someone makes at the job they are thinking about doing someday. They start to ask questions about saving for retirement, how the stock market works, and how banks work. I absolutely love this activity and I hope you and your students do too.
CHECK WRITING PACKET
This check writing packet will give students practice writing checks and recording their payments and deposits in a check register. Students read a story that takes them through a crazy day of writing six checks and making two deposits. They should end up with $5.00 left when they are done. The story, blank checks, check register, and answer key is provided with this purchase.
When I do this activity I usually print out two sets of blank checks for students. One for them to practice writing sample checks such as, "Write a check on May 10, 2014 to your school for $12.00 for a school T-shirt. How would you do that? What would it look like?" I let students try, then show them how I would write one on the overhead projector. I show them how to write the number in the amount as close as possible to the left edge so no one could add a number in there; thus changing a $47.00 check to $847.00. I also show them why to add a line after who you write the check out to so it doesn't end up as, "To: SOUTH MIDDLE SCHOOL or Your Social Studies Teacher." If the line is there it makes it harder for someone to alter the check.
When I teach this activity I tell students my one goal is that they protect themselves from ever getting ripped off. I also show them my own check card and how on the back I don't have my name signed. Instead I have "See I.D." I let them know that not even 5% of cashiers ever ask to see my identification. So I always ask the cashier, "How do you know this is my check card?" Many of my students will have jobs in high school as cashiers so it helps them be aware of identity theft early on.
Kids like this activity a lot, and they are usually very excited to find out if they got it right at the end.
CAREER RESEARCH PACKET:
This career research packet allows students to explore different careers they may be interested in pursuing. This is a good tool to use as a follow-up lesson on personal budgeting so students can see if they can afford the things they may want based on the income from the career they choose. Students will use the Occupational Outlook web site to gather information such as job outlook, average salary, courses to prepare them, education required, etc. regarding the careers they are interested in.
This is a good way to get students thinking about life past school and help them see what they can be doing now to get them there.
Check out my other Economics Bundles:
The Economics of Balancing a Budget & The Economics of Saving Your Money
The Economics of Balancing a Budget & The Economics of Check Writing
The Economics of Balancing a Budget & The Economics of College
The Economics of Balancing a Budget & The Economics of Investing in the Stocks
The Economics of Check Writing & The Economics of College
The Economics of Check Writing & The Economics of Investing in Stocks
The Economics of Check Writing & The Economics of Saving Your Money
The Economics of College & The Economics of Saving Money
The Economics of College & The Economics of Investing in Stocks
The Economics of Saving Your Money & Investing in Stocks
Here's even MORE Economics products:
Career Research Packet
Economics Bundle Pack - Stocks, Cost/Benefit, & 2 Invention Projects
Famous Inventors and Their Inventions Presentation
Opportunity Cost and Benefit Packet
The Cause and Effect of the Greatest Events or Inventions from 1950-1999 Project
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