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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

The Real Way to Moolah Beach!

Project URL:

Read the Review

How it works:
Students and adults alike have difficulties managing money. This program doesn't pretend to take the place of a financial analyst, but it does provide key insight into the basics of managing your money. Students  learn about checkbook accounts and the basics of accounting. They are given transactions and learn how to register those transactions accordingly. As a culminating assignment, students are given an imaginary initial balance of three thousand dollars. They  first create a budget and then go online to acquire as many useful goods as their money will allow. All spending must be justified using sound criteria that a knowledgeable consumer would use, such as obtaining a number of price quotes first, comparing specials versus normal price, trying to acquire directly from dealers, obtaining extra perks for purchases, etc. Through this exercise, students learn the intricacies in decision making. Knowing that the consumer price index affects the real value of their money and maintaining a spreadsheet help them understand the importance of wisely administering money. Going online and being able to calculate the value of their money helps students open their eyes to this reality.  The sooner they learn how to manage their money wisely, the sooner they will be prepared for life. And in the end, isn't this the purpose of education?

Standards addressed:  
Students use symbolic forms to represent and analyze mathematical situations, and apply a wide variety of strategies to solve problems and adapt the strategies to new situations. They organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking to communicate with others, recognize and use connections among different mathematical ideas, and understand how mathematical ideas build on one another. They recognize, use, and learn about mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.

Materials used:
A computer with Internet connection, a projector, and a television are used.

The students:
Students should have some basic knowledge of computers, specifically word processing and spreadsheet software. This program is intended for eighth grade and above, but can also be done with highly motivated seventh grade students. Students can work on this project individually, but may work in cooperative groups as well. This project can also be done with 12th grade students or adults. You can focus more on the math involved in finance for these age groups.

Overall value:
In The Real Way To Moolah Beach! students and adults learn the value of their money as well as what it takes to be a smart consumer. Students are given the opportunity to visit stores and "shop" online. It gives them an idea as to why some people take a considerable amount of time before purchasing something and why others make quick purchases and regret them later on. Students will enjoy doing many things they have done before under a new light while learning many new concepts. Students visit a bank and learn the basics of what goes on. This program is a lesson in life--and isn't this the true purpose of the existence of schools!
If you have the opportunity and the appropriate software (WebWhacker), download some useful Web pages and have them ready for your students. This is a broad unit,  so don't feel that you have to follow everything word for word. I have found that some groups pick up some concepts quicker than others and thus I spend less time on concepts, while others need to spend more time than planned. Check the unit for more tips.


About the teacher:
Anthony Salcedo is laptop coordinator at the Mott Hall School, the first inner city public school to start a laptop program. At the school, every student carries a laptop computer. He was one of the keynote speakers at the Microsoft Laptop Summit 2000 in Seattle, Washington. He has also presented at other technology conferences around the country and has received recognition from two superintendents for his achievements. Anthony is also a certified NFTE instructor and has worked as a translator in the Caribbean for a division of the United Nations. He is currently an adjunct professor at NYU and is in his 10th year of teaching in the NYC public schools system.


Subject Areas: 

Grade Levels: 



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