Economics - Balancing a Budget. 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 this is an activity that really opens the eyes of your students to the reality of budgeting their money.
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The Economics of Checks, Budgets, Stocks, College, and Savings - 5 Activities!
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 over 17 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.
Table of Contents:
Balancing A Budget
Page 1: Cover
Page 2: Explanation of Budgets
Page 3: Vocabulary Terms
Page 4: Sample Budget to Calculate (Shortage)
Page 5: Sample Budget to Calculate (Surplus)
Page 6: Budget Based on Roll of the Dice
Page 7: Extension Activity Explained
Page 8: Student Writing - Explaining Adjustments to Their Budget
Page 9: Extension Activity with House & Car
Page 10: Answers to Practice Budgets
Page 11: Monthly Income Amounts Based on Roll of Dice
Answers to Monthly Budgets:
Pages 1-11: Calculated Answers for Each Monthly Budget
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