BONUS LESSON 1: Graphing It Out

Students will learn the importance of monitoring personal spending habits, and will use a bar graph to track their hypothetical spending.

With this bonus lesson, students will continue to think about personal finances, and use a bar graph to look more closely at their personal spending habits.

Online Worksheet 1: Graphing It Out

1. As an extension of the Math and Money program, try the following lesson with your students. In Lesson 1: Financial Wizard your students learned about earning and saving money and making purchases. With this bonus lesson, your students will continue to think about personal finances. Ask your students about their spending habits—how much they spend each week and what they’re buying.

2. Explain to students that if they want something that they can’t afford, they’ll need to save, and more importantly, they’ll need to cut back on spending. Tell your students that it’s important to be aware of: A) what you’re spending money on, B) when you’re spending the money, and C) how much you’re spending!

3. Tell your students that a good method of analyzing their spending is to use a bar graph. Explain to students that a bar graph is used to display and compare information. Students should know that the height of each bar is proportional to the amount of data (in this case the data are time and money) that the bar represents in the graph. Therefore, explain that the higher the bar is, the larger the amount of data.

4. Draw an x-axis (horizontal) and a y-axis (vertical) on the board. Label each axis. On the x-axis, write in the following: Week, Two Weeks, Three Weeks, Month. On the y-axis, use a sequence of numbers from 0 to 100 at intervals of 10. Ask students to imagine that they spend $20 at the movies each week. Ask them to help you create a bar graph on the board that charts how much money they will spend at the movies over the course of four weeks.

5. Explain to students that one axis of the graph will identify grouped data and the other is a frequency scale. While you’re discussing these “building blocks” of the graph, talk to students about the intervals you’ve drawn on the board. Ask your students how much the graph would change if the intervals were smaller, or if they were larger.

6. Distribute the Graphing It Out worksheet. Invite students to read the introduction and accompanying directions aloud in class. Instruct the students to use the information given on the worksheet in order to create a graph in the space provided. When they’re done, ask students to summarize aloud what they’ve learned about spending from this lesson and worksheet.

Worksheet Answer Key:

1. 3 x $1.99 = $5.97/workday on candy    
$5.97 x 5 = $29.85/workweek on candy

2. $12/day x 5 days = $60/wk on job expenses

3. Weekly earnings before expenses = $244.12
Weekly expenses = $29.85 (candy) + $60.00 (job expenses) = $89.85
Amount left over per week = $154.27

4. $60 x 4 = $240.00
5. $154.27 x 12 weeks (3 months) = $1851.24
$1851.24 - $599 = $1252.24

Homework Suggestion: Using a newspaper or online research, have students find an advertisement of an expensive item they would like to purchase as well as a classified advertisement for a job that pays an hourly rate. Students should cut these out and glue them to the homework sheet. Then, below the ads, they should calculate how long it would take to earn enough money to purchase the item if they had that actual job. Make sure they make estimations about other factors like taxes, transportation, and their own daily expenses.

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