Posts Tagged ‘budgeting’

Teens, Money, and Credit Cards

June 22nd, 2006

A ClickSchooling list member wrote and asked, “Do you know of a site that teaches teens how to best use credit cards (or other ways) to build their credit? My 18-year-old is getting information that totally contradicts what I’m telling her and I’m having a difficult time with it!” It’s never too early to start learning about money skills. Here are some websites designed for teens (and kids of all ages) that teach money skills including everything you need to know about credit and credit cards…

Recommended Websites:

It All Adds Up

This interactive website was designed to help high school teachers and teen students understand responsible personal finance management and the proper care and use of credit. Lesson plans include:

  • Module 1: Getting and Using a Credit Card
  • Module 2: Buying a Car
  • Module 3: Budget Odyssey
  • Module 4: Saving and Investing Blitz
  • Module 5: You’re Going to College

Practical Money Skills for Life

This VISA-sponsored website is comprehensive and designed for school use and family use as well. The link I provided takes you directly to the Lesson Plans page for Young Children (Preschool-Grade 2), Children (Grades 3-6), Teens (Grades 7-12), and College (Ages 18 and up). The Teen section includes one lesson devoted to credit, and another lesson all about credit cards.

ING Direct’s

ING Direct has come up with a clever, interactive way to help kids understand how money works — so that instead of spending a lifetime working for money, they can make the money they earn work for them to gain financial independence and security. This website was designed to teach financial literacy to students in grades 4-8, however younger children will enjoy some of the activities with guidance from mom or dad, and older visitors, including teens, will enjoy the information, games, and quizzes as well. Some of the lessons include:

  • Moneyland — Learn about the meaning of value, currency exchange, finding a job, and earning money.
  • South Spending — Get the 411 on smart spending, budgeting, credit, credit cards, credit interest, and credit history.
  • Republic of Saving — Find out about saving strategies, inflation, interest, banks, savings accounts, checking, CDs, and ATMs.
  • Investor Islands — Explore the risks and rewards of investing including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and diversification.

All of these activities are delivered through interactive games. You can test the knowledge you gain at each area by taking a quiz that requires using math skills. Don’t forget to check out:

  • Parent’s Corner — A nice introduction to Planet Orange and how you can use the information to increase your child’s financial know-how.
  • Teacher’s Resource Center — FREE lesson plans with printable worksheets that complement the information at the website! You must register (provide your name, address, school name, etc.) to access the lessons and use the curriculum planner — but it’s free, and the materials are top-notch.

Balance The National Budget Online Game!

April 12th, 2004

Recommended Website:
National Budget Simulation

This site, originally a project of UC Berkeley’s Center for Community Economic Research, offers a unique game – one that allows you to try to balance the national budget. It gives the player the ability to control about 357 billion dollars in yearly spending and the opportunity to adjust tax expenditures and tax loopholes.

When you get to the site, you can play two versions of the game:

  • Short Version – allot percentages of the budget funds to major categories of spending.
  • Long Version – same as the short version except it includes sub-categories of spending that gets into the real nitty gritty of budgeting funds.

Try the simulations without knowing the budgets first, and you may be surprised how little revenue is gained by cutting certain programs. It really tests whether your perception of where the money goes in the budget matches the reality.

The categories of spending used in this simulation generally match the categories used in the official budget of the United States. Some slight changes were made for the game and these are explained in detail at the website.

This game also accomplishes the task of letting the player see a real-life, practical use of mathematics. This game is probably better suited to at least junior high school age students and up. I know lots of parents will want to test their hand at balancing the budget as well. Good luck!

Math Through Stories

January 26th, 2004

Recommended Website:
Math Prose

This website, designed by a 7th-grade math teacher, contains two original stories (prose) about kids’ adventures that require different strands of math to solve the problems presented in the stories. Each story plot introduces different math concepts and defines math terms. The reader is presented with problems that require them to use their math skills to help solve the main character’s problem. There are teacher/parent pages that explain the concepts and how to further learning too. Here, taken from the webpage, are some of the story lines and the math concepts they incorporate.

  • Through the Red Fence: Area and Perimeter, Percents, and Equations. On the way home from school, the story characters find a lonely little puppy that touches their hearts. They will need to build a fence and figure costs. (Budgeting, Modeling, Measurement, Economics.)
  • Swallow the Distance: Indirect Measurement, Proportions and Problem Solving. The characters meet with some unfortunate circumstances on a weekend camping trip. In a strange turn of events, they’re faced with the strongest motivation of all: survival. Help them emerge unscathed. (English, Outdoorsmanship, Geology.)

In addition to these stories, there are two condensed stories for those with little time or short attention spans. You will also find links to mazes, games, and other math sites here as well — including a sister site called The Math Project. This site offers interesting math questions in the form of two web quests and a contests. Lots of fun for kids who like to solve math puzzles!

Note: Re-visiting this site in 2007, some of the links don’t seem to be working, and some of the images take a while to load (or don’t load), but the math challenges are still worth a visit. Enjoy :)

Math through Holiday Budgets!

December 10th, 2001

Continuing with our Holiday Curriculum…

At holiday time kids need money to buy gifts or to purchase materials to make gifts. Budgeting money is a skill that is relevant at this time of year. Budgeting will enhance math skills as kids count, add, subtract, multiply, and divide their money. Spending money will help kids become more proficient at money math too. Today’s website offers tips to help kids learn all about earning, saving, spending, and especially BUDGETING money.

Recommended Website:
Family Education — Budgeting

When you get to the site you will see a menu with links to website pages that contain:

  • Lessons — Ways to help children of all ages learn the value of a dollar and a credit card.
  • What Works — Get budgeting tips from other parents including games they have played with their kids to improve their “money smarts”.
  • Calculators — Links to online budgeting calculators to use with your child to determine if he/she can afford to buy a skateboard for their best friend, or purchase glitter pens to make holiday greeting cards.
  • Quiz — Have your teen take an online quiz to see if he/she is ready to handle finances in college.

The menu also has links to other websites with resources for money management.