It All Adds Up
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ItAllAddsUp Teachers' Guide

Getting Started

To access one of the five interactive modules on this site, click on an image in the moving menu bar at the base of the screen. (The ribbon of images will slow down as your pointer gets closer.)

Introduction

"It All Adds Up" is a Web-based, interactive program designed to help high school teachers and students understand responsible personal finance management skills and the proper care and use of credit.

The site:

  • Provides safe and pedagogically sound interactive learning.
  • Promotes standards-based education. The site activities are aligned to relevant standards in economics and math (Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics, NCEE, 1997; and the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics published by the National Council on Teachers of Mathematics)
  • Provides real-world applications that are relevant to high school students.

Lesson Descriptions:

NCTM Standards

Standard 2 Patterns, Functions and Algebra

- Use symbolic forms to represent and analyze mathematical situations

Students should leave high school with a balanced understanding of algebra. In solving problems that arise from real settings, the symbolic language of algebra can be effective in finding and interpreting solutions.

Standard 6 Problem Solving

- Apply a wide variety of strategies to solve problems and adapt the strategies to new situations

Problem-solving activities must be embedded in the fabric of students' mathematics learning.

Standard 8 Communication

- Organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking to communicate with others

- Express mathematical ideas coherently and clearly

Communication is a fundamental element of learning and is inseparable from any of the other standards.

Standard 9 Connections

- Recognize and use connections among different mathematical ideas

- Understand how mathematical ideas build on one another

- Recognize, use and learn about mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics

In grades 9-12, students should have many opportunities to become aware of connections among mathematics, science and other disciplines. They should apply mathematical understanding and computing technology to solve realistic problems. Connections among various content areas help students to see mathematics as an integrated whole and to understand results in different ways.


 

Module 1

Title: Getting and Using a Credit Card

Content Keywords:

  • Credit
  • Credit rating
  • Compound interest
  • Simple interest
  • Rule of 72

Objectives:

    • Students will be able to list major determinants of an individual's credit rating.
    • Students will indicate the length of time it takes to pay off a credit card balance, given minimum payments.
    • Given a formula, students will be able to calculate simple interest.
    • Students will describe the importance of maintaining a good credit history.

Standards:

 

National Economics Standards

Standard 10

Institutions evolve in market economies to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks, labor unions, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit organizations are examples of important institutions. A different kind of institution, clearly defined and enforced property rights, is essential to a market economy.

Grade 8, Benchmark 1. Banks and other financial institutions channel funds from savers to borrowers and investors.

Standard 12

Interest rates, adjusted for inflation, rise and fall to balance the amount saved with the amount borrowed, which affects the allocation of scarce resources between present and future uses.

Grade 12, Benchmark 6. Riskier loans command higher interest rates than safer loans because of the greater chance of default on the repayment of the risky loan.

Description:

Students will read the "Credit Counselor" guide to learn about the costs and benefits of credit cards; the C's of credit; credit history; credit application evaluation; and become familiar with some useful formulas. They will need to complete the reading in order to make the best choice from a series of credit profiles and to answer a series of questions during the simulation.

Students will review 4 different credit applications and select one based upon criteria suggested in the "Credit Counselor" guide. The character selection will determine the player's initial cash holdings, income and credit rating.

During this timed simulation, the player's objective is to maximize cash holdings, credit rating and value of purchased goods. In addition, they will minimize their credit balance. They can shop a variety of online 'stores' and earn income by answering questions about credit. Players need to keep an eye on the timer, though, because regular credit card payments are due periodically. If a payment is missed, there's a negative impact on the player's credit rating.

Play ends when the timer stops. A composite score is calculated from the credit rating, cash balance, credit balance, and total value of goods purchased.

Additional resources:

Focus: Personal Decisionmaking Copyright © 1997. National Council on Economic Education. New York.

Personal Finance Economics, 6-8: Money in the Middle. Copyright © 1996. National Council on Economic Education, New York.


Module 2

Title: Buying a Car

Content Keywords:

  • Decision making
  • Choice
  • Costs
  • Ownership cost
  • Benefits

Objectives:

  • Students will be able to explore the costs involved with the ownership of a car.
  • Students will be able to calculate simple math problems.
  • Students will be able to recognize the impact that decisions have on the outcome of their choices.

Standards:

National Economics Standards

  • Standard 1
    • Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.
  • Standard 2
    • Effective decision-making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Most choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something: few choices are "all or nothing" decisions.

Description:

Students will assume they are shopping to buy a car. They will select a model they feel best fits their needs and budget. Students will calculate the expense of buying and owning a car, including finance, operating, and maintenance costs.

Students will be offered a variety of selections and will be guided through a decision-making process for selecting a car. Once the student selects and approves the cars, they expenses connected to the ownership of the car.

 

Additional resources:


Module 3

Title: Budget Odyssey

Content Keywords:

  • Decision making
  • Budget surplus
  • Budget deficit
  • Income
  • Choice
  • Fixed expenses
  • Variable expenses

Objectives:

  • Students will be able to identify examples of income, fixed expenses and variable expenses.
  • Students will be able to calculate budget figures to determine the net gain or loss on a budget.

Standards:

National Economic Standards

  • Standard 1
    • Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.
  • Standard 2
    • Effective decision-making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Most choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something: few choices are "all or nothing" decisions.
  • Standard 4
    • People respond predictably to positive and negative incentives.

Descriptions:

Students will begin the Budget Odyssey driving a minibus to Budget Balancing Bliss via a board game. Students will answer questions about income, fixed expenses, and variable expenses. Once the student reaches the end of the board game the player will be presented with a spreadsheet upon which they will calculate their net gain or loss.

Additional resources:

Consumer Credit and Counseling Service provides budget counseling, educational programs, debt management assistance and housing counseling.


Module 4

Title: Saving and Investing Blitz

Content Keywords:

  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Interest rates
  • Mathematics
  • Certificates
  • Rule of 72

Objectives:

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of saving and investing.
  • Given a formula, students will be able to calculate simple interest.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of the importance of saving and investing.

Standards:

National Economic Standards

  • Standard 12
    • Interest rates, adjusted for inflation, rise and fall to balance the amount saved with the amount borrowed, which affects the allocation of scarcer sources between present and future uses.
  • Standard 15
    1. Investment in factories, machinery, new technology, and in the health, education, and training of people can raise future standards of living.

Description:

The Saving and Investment Blitz engages the student in a series of timed questions that will test their understanding of saving and investment as well as their ability to perform calculations related to the time value of money.

The student will go through a series of timed multiple-choice question on saving and investing. The more time the student spends on the question, the less point value the question will carry. The student should be prepared to answer the questions using the knowledge they have gained through study and the use of a calculator.

Students may keep track of their scores and compare their scores with other students playing the Saving and Investment Blitz.

Additional resources:


Module 5

Title: You're Going to College

Content Keywords:

  • Funding costs
  • Benefits
  • Economic freedom
  • Interest

Objectives:

  • The student will identify costs and benefits associated with college financing.
  • The student will determine approximate costs for a year at college.

Standards:

  • National Economic Standards
  • Standard 2
    • Effective decision-making requires comparing the additional costs of alternatives with the additional benefits. Most choices involve doing a little more or a little less of something: few choices are "all or nothing" decisions.

Description:

The students will explore the funding costs and the benefits of college. The student will be engaged in three levels of games that help the player understand the decisions connected to attending college and the benefits available to a college graduate.

The first game is a concentration type game where the student must match cards that provide information about the cost and benefits of alternative sources of funding.

The second level game is Cha-Chingo. The student will be asked a series of question pertaining to college costs. The answers are based on published rates. For every correct answer the student is provided with a chip. Once all of the questions have been answered, the chips are then dropped in a cha-chingo style game that will give the player points. When all of the chips have been dropped, a problem appears that will ask students to determine how much more money they need to pay for their college education.

Additional resources:

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