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Monday, November 27, 2017

Life or Debt: Holiday Shopping Update

Awhile back, I shared a post about my Life or Debt unit.  As we approach the holiday season I wanted to share a little update. Last week my students had to "go shopping" for all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Today, I surprised them with a little Black Friday and Cyber Monday Holiday Shopping. I used the same app that I mentioned previously to create a list of items that people are purchasing this year with the actual costs during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  In class, the students rolled a die to determine how much shopping they would do. The number on the die correlated to the number of times that they had to tap the button on my app and buy something.

The room was buzzing immediately! Students were groaning, exclaiming, consoling each other, and generally had great difficulty containing themselves.  Further accentuating the event, last week was a short "work week" and student pay day today was only averaging $40. As if that wasn't enough, their mortgages were due today!  You can probably imagine that a number of students are in debt following this lesson.

Two basic scenarios played out. First, some students (very few) actually managed to stay debt free.  Most students were forced to borrow from their "$1000 line of credit at the bank".  The others have maxed out their bank credit and now have even more debt on a revolving credit card with an APR of 21%.

There are plenty of things about the game that are just my complete random selections but the idea behind it remains to teach the students how to balance a bank register and feel the impact of both choices we make in life along with things that are completely out of our control. The idea being that this simulation will make the students think twice when the time comes to decide how to spend their paycheck.

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