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Classroom Checkbooks

Found in: math; money skills; social studies

Contact one of your local banks to see if they will supply you with checkbooks and registers for everyone in your class. Begin the year by having students suggest what categories of monthly expenses they will have as adults, for example: rent, food, electricity, television, etc. Have them collect ideas from home as to the amount their parents spend on each item per month.

Choose three amounts for each category and average them. Total the amount as the students' expenses for the month. “Pay” students double the minimum wage for 38 hours of work and explain the employers’ strategy of avoiding health care costs. Each month the teacher pays the students and then the students must write a check to the teacher for the total of their expenses.

“Bonus” money can be earned for fine work, etc. “Unexpected expenses” can be charged for missing homework, etc. Students who run out of money can “work off” their debt with lunchroom duty. In April, have students fill out their federal income tax on the EZ form. I've used this in sixth grade for seven years with great success.


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