This is a sponsored post
Do you remember when you first learned how to balance a checkbook, read a bank statement, or had to figure out how to budget your money? These important life skills are essential for today’s students who need to be financially literate in order to be successful. Teaching these practical skills to kids of all ages is easy thanks to companies like H&R Block provide free resources like the H&R Block Budget Challenge that are designed to teach true life financial skills to students in age appropriate ways.
About the H&R Block Budget Challenge
The free H&R Block Budget Challenge encourages students to learn personal finance in a fun, engaging way while competing against other classrooms and students for $3 million in classroom grants and student scholarships. Participants encounter real-world personal budgeting situations and have to rely on problem-solving and decision-making through online simulation and accompanying lessons that are aligned to national standards.
Students get a virtual salary and will be tasked with building a budget, paying recurring bills and making decisions regarding real-world expenses such as rent, utilities, car payments and insurance. Throughout the Challenge, students will be presented with spontaneous lifelike occurrences such as car accidents, lost cell phones, or pay raises, and will be required to adjust their budget accordingly to deal with such unexpected situations.
Why Your Class Should Participate in the H&R Block Budget Challenge
By learning strong budgeting skills and fiscal discipline early, kids gain necessary knowledge and confidence to manage their own financial future.
The free H&R Block Budget Challenge encourages students to learn personal finance in a fun, engaging way while competing against other classrooms and students for $3 million in classroom grants and student scholarships.
How to Participate
There are six different H&R Block Budget Challenge simulation periods for teachers to sign up for between September and April. The following dates represent the start dates for the six simulations. Teachers can sign up their classes up to one week before each of the following start dates:
- Simulation Period 1: September 10, 2015
- Simulation Period 2: September 24, 2015
- Simulation Period 3: October 8, 2015
- Simulation Period 4: January 14, 2016
- Simulation Period 5: January 28, 2016
- Simulation Period 6: February 11, 2016
Free Lesson Plans for All Grades
In addition to the H&R Block Budget Challenge, there are also stand-alone H&R Block Budget Challenge lesson plans for all grade levels. While the site doesn’t sort them by for elementary, middle and high school, I took a quick look and here are just a few examples of the many lesson plans available that I thought would be most appropriate for each age group:
- Ruth Gale-Paredez: “What education do you need to live comfortably?”
Fifth grade students figure out exactly how much it costs to live for a family of four. Survey is taken for all expenses including taxes and insurance and an amount of income is calculated. Then a career is chosen to meet their needs and wants.
- Diana Shay Diehl: “California Grizzly Bank (Student Checkbooks)”
In this ongoing lesson, 4th grade students learn to keep a checkbook balance by adding money earned for various activities and subtracting ‘fines’. They also have opportunities to “purchase” items & participate in auctions with their earned balance.
- Anthony Dezio: “Road Trip.”
Students will create a custom itinerary for a road trip across the country, calculating driving distances and costs for gas, hotels, admission tickets and food. Students will also use conversion factors to convert costs into daily rates.
- Matt Van Gelder: “To be in Debt or not to be in Debt, that is the Question”
Students learn how to budget in the Smart Phone era. Using the EEBA (Easy Envelope Budget Aid) application for both desktop computers and Tablets, students input their daily spending into categories. The app also creates a visual chart and breakdown.
- Kristie Wikane: “Affording my lifestyle.”
One teacher breaks down her expenses and income to provide eye-opening discussion and clarity into budgeting.
- Lisa Jahnke: “Reality Store.”
The Reality Store is designed to give students a glimpse of what it is like to live and work in the real world. Students will be researching a career for several weeks. They will use that career and the income to go through a month’s expenses.
- D’Annette Mullen: “Dollars and Sense: Understanding our Money”
Students will learn the purpose of checking accounts and how to use them and keep track of debits and credits. They will also be able to write checks at the lesson’s conclusion.
- Pam Pleas: “Can I live on what I’ll make?”
This lesson/unit ties career research to wages, taxes, and a personal budget plan to determine how students will live on a starting salary in a career of interest to them.
For resources and inspiration for teaching money management, visit HRBlockDollarsandSense.com, connect on Facebook at Facebook.com/HRBDS, or enroll your class in the H&R Block Budget Challenge beginning on September 3.
This sponsored post was written as part of a collaboration with We Are Teachers and H&R Block. All opinions are my own. Images courtesy of H&R Block.