Ready-to-Go Resources: Money in Motion - What Teens Should Know About Managing Finances

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Lesson 5: A Taxing Question

Time Required: 30 minutes

Materials: A Taxing Question Student Reproducible 5 (PDF); pen/pencil

Students discover, through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Susanna, what it's like to receive their first paychecks. Discussion and/or writing assignments help students to better understand taxes and why we pay them.

You might want to begin this lesson by asking students:
Have any of you ever received a paycheck? If so, did it look like what you expected? If not, why not? Were you surprised to discover how much of your salary goes to taxes? What do you do with a paycheck (how do you turn a check into cash)?

Read through the material with your class, and go over Susanna's findings. Review the sample paycheck and identify the different withholdings and taxes.

To conclude the class, ask your class to write a paragraph about one or more of the following questions:

• Do you have a bank account? Why or why not? Why would you open one?
• How do you feel about paying taxes? Are taxes a good idea? Why or why not?
• What role do banks play in moving money from one place to another?

Extension ideas: Invite guest speakers from the community to talk about their financial experiences: bankers, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers. Or, invite recent graduates to speak with your students about the financial issues they face after high school.

Curriculum Connections
Social Studies: Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Economics: Limitation of Resources; Decision Making; Income
English: Communication
Financial Literacy: Money Management; Income

Photos from top to bottom: © Rubberball Productions, © Robert Daly/Stone/Getty Images.

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