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FACS: Making Ends Meet (ECON)

Main Core Tie

FCS 6th Grade
Strand 3 Standard 1

Time Frame

1 class periods of 60 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups




Students will work in small groups acting as Financial Advisors to plan ways a family can alter their budget to better meet their goals. Students will then complete a comparison shopping excercise to practice critical thinking processes.




  • 5 or 6 small balls for object lesson
  • Making Ends Meet worksheet, one per group with at least two budget sheets to look at per group
  • Calculators
  • Critical Thinking Steps worksheet

Background for Teachers

Throughout this activity guide students to identify how the "Big 5 of Econmics" is evidenced in their decisions.

  1. People's wants and needs are unlimited.
  2. When resources are limited, people have to make choices.
  3. Choices involve costs and benefits.
  4. Choices can affect ourselves and others.
  5. Consequences of choices may be immediate or lie in the future.

Intended Learning Outcomes

• Apply economic concepts to personal and family experience. • Compare the benefits and costs of spending decisions. • Apply a decision-making process to personal financial choices.

Instructional Procedures

  1. "BALLS" object lesson -- make it quick! Select 2-3 students to play catch. They are to keep the balls moving and not drop any. As they play add another ball, then another. Stop and ask for class suggestions on how they can do better. Implement their suggestions and continue. Draw conclusions on how this can relate to a families spending plan.
    • Need a plan
    • Work together
    • Reduce spending or increase income
    • Communication is essential
    • Know what is coming, be prepared
    • Do not exceed your abilities/resources
    • Etc.
  2. Divide students into small groups. Each group works to complete Making Ends Meet. Discuss their choices, group dynamics, frustrations, changes they would make. Relate to home life and making decisions for the good of the entire family.
  3. Introduce the Critical Thinking Steps worksheet. Explain and give an example of how to use the critical thinking steps. Each student completes it individually. Note: check early on to make sure they chose a general rather than specific item in the first step.
  • The person who spends all their money and then more is in danger of becoming bankrupt.
  • When making a purchase you need to consider several alternatives.
  • The money you make at your job day after day, week after week, is called gross or earned income.
  • The money you have left after taxes and deductions is your net income or your take-home pay. It is the amount you actually get to spend.
  • A budget is a plan for how you will spend your money.

Created: 07/06/2011
Updated: 02/05/2018