This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Living on Your Own -- Let's Calculate the Cost!
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites:
Students should have knowledge of basic math applications, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, converting percents to decimals, finding averages, making and completing tables, and substituting values into formulas.

Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:
  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95 or higher.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

  • Paper.
  • Pencils.
  • Local newspapers. (Optional. This lesson can be completed without the use of the Internet by using a local newspaper for data collection.)
The following sites should be bookmarked:

  • Yahoo Autosmart

    This site has listings of brands and types of automobiles with links to other auto-related sites.

  • Apartment Search

    This site has a listing of available apartments with information concerning type and price. You may wish to replace this Web site with one that provides local apartment information.

  • Kroger's Supermarket in Houston

    This local Kroger's supermarket lists regular and special prices of selected items.

  • Entertainment Directory

    This Web site includes listings of live entertainment in many parts of the country. Click on your region. Then, click on "music" for a listing of upcoming local concerts.


    Time Allotment:
    This lesson requires approximately 4 class periods.

  • Ask students to write down how much they think it would cost for them to live in an apartment on their own for one month. Encourage them to discuss what costs they will incur.

  • Distribute copies of the Assignment Sheet, Apartment Hunting, Car Loans, Food and Entertainment, and Let's Budget, in Organizers for Students. After students have read the Assignment Sheet, have students look at Apartment Hunting. Discuss the different aspects of comparison shopping for an apartment, including all the costs that can be involved: security deposits, pet deposits, utilities, how the apartment is heated and cooled, and so on.

  • Have students look at the different costs of apartments on the Internet, using Apartment Search ( or a listing of local, available apartments. Have students complete the organizer. Discuss answers.

  • Have students complete Car Loans, in Organizers for Students, using Yahoo Autosmart ( to gather data. Discuss answers, which will vary according to the make and model of the cars selected. Facilitate a class discussion about different car options and the advantages and disadvantages of a shorter- or longer-term loan.

    Have students complete Food and Entertainment, in Organizers for Students, for homework. Students will be asked to visit a local supermarket and video store. Students can also gather information from Kroger's Supermarket in Houston ( and Entertainment Directory (

    Discuss answers.

  • Have students complete Let's Budget, in Organizers for Students, using the information from the previous three organizers. Discuss answers. Emphasize that critical-thinking skills are needed to improve survival skills in the real world.


    Language Arts: Students should write an essay about the advantages and disadvantages of living away from home.

    Math (higher level): Students should use the information in Car Loans, in Organizers for Students, to develop algebraic equations for determining monthly payments and interest.


    One Computer in the Classroom
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    You may also want to supplement the lesson with a local newspaper to allow students to work in groups and alternate using the computer.

    Several Computers in the Classroom
    Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked site.

    You can also set up the class so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

    You can make this lesson into a cooperative activity, like a jigsaw puzzle. Each student or group of students finds a piece of information that they have to share with others to complete the project.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students