What's Up In Finance?
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In this lesson, students will learn personal financial management strategies based on budgeting. Students will learn the theoretical concepts involved with budgeting and financial management, including income, expenses, savings, and debt; and will then watch a clip of What's Up in Finance? to see how a college student learned to manage his budget. Students will then complete hands-on activities to create three different saving and spending scenarios based on their own lives and expenses. The amounts of money spent and saved will differ in each scenario, with scenario 1 having some debt, scenario 2 having no debt but almost no savings, and scenario 3 having significant savings. After completing these activities, students will use the online interactivity "Bank It or Bust" to utilize the financial management concepts and strategies they have learned.

As a final activity, students will brainstorm ways to manage their own budgets while making room for investments, like classes, that will help their personal development in the long run. In this way, students are examining ways to save money to "invest" in themselves, for a return in their lives over the long-term.


TIME ALLOTMENT: 3 classes at 45 minutes per class

SUBJECT MATTER: Math, Finance, Economics

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Students will be able to:
  • Understand the components of a budget
  • Compute savings
  • Compute debt
  • Learn financial management
  • Learn the nature of opportunity costs
  • Understand the importance of self-regulation
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  1. National Council of Teachers and Mathematics
    Principles and Standards for School Mathematics

    Number and Operations
    • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems;
    • Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another;
    • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.

    Problem Solving
    • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving;
    • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts;
    • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems;
    • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving.

    • Create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas;
    • Select, apply, and translate among mathematical representations to solve problems;
    • Use representations to model and interpret physical, social, and mathematical phenomena.

  2. JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

    Money Management
    Students will be able to:
    1. Explain how limited personal financial resources affect the choices people make.
    2. Identify the opportunity cost of financial decisions.
    3. Discuss the importance of taking responsibility for personal financial decisions.
    4. Apply a decision-making process to personal financial choices.
    5. Explain how inflation affects spending and investing decisions.
    6. Describe how insurance and other risk-management strategies protect against financial loss.
    7. Design a plan for earning, spending, saving, and investing.
    8. Explain how to use money-management tools available from financial institutions

  3. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
    Benchmarks for Economics

    Standard 1
    Understands that scarcity of productive resources requires choices that generate opportunity costs

    Standard 7
    Understands savings, investment, and interest rates

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watch video
What's Up in Finance, "Moving Out" segment

Web site:

The goal of this game is to budget expenses with the aim of saving for a short-term purchase (a car), and to see the results of saving over a long-term for a larger purchase (a home). The player is a teen working a full-time retail job for the summer. The player will develop a weekly budget of expenses, modifying their behavior so as to create savings. Then, the player will move through the ten weeks of summer vacation, with each week presenting an opportunity for savings or spending.

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Teachers will need the following supplies:
  • Computer with connection to a screen or television on which to project the Web-based video clips, or computer stations where students can watch the clips
  • Board and/or chart paper
  • "Financial Management Terms" Teacher Organizer
Students will need the following supplies:
  • Computers with internet access (for individuals or groups)
  • Notebook or journal
  • Pens/pencils
  • Calculator
  • "Dreams for the Future" Student Organizer
  • "Debt/Savings" Student Organizer
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  1. Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as www.portaportal.com.

  2. Preview all of the video clips and Web sites used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students, currently available, and accessible from your classroom.

  3. Download the video clips used in this lesson onto your hard drive or a portable storage device, or prepare to stream the clips from your classroom.

  4. Print out the "Financial Management Terms" Teacher Organizer, to copy the terms and definitions on the board.

  5. Print out the Student Organizers: "Dreams for the Future" and "Debt/Savings," and make enough copies so that each student has one copy of each organizer.

  6. When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

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