Financial Pitfalls Activities

ANALYZE: Change a Bad Financial Habit

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Examine a bad financial habit of theirs that they would like to change 
  • Understand the Habit Cycle as described by Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit
  • Create and execute a plan to help them change their bad financial habit
  • Reflect on how the Habit Cycle empowers them to change their habits 

ANALYZE: The Influence of Advertisements

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the various strategies advertisers use to influence consumers
  • Analyze 6 different commercials and identify which strategies advertisers are using most effectively

CALCULATE: Play the Lottery or Save? (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use an online calculator to calculate the value an average Texan who normally plays the lottery would extract by investing the money in a retirement account instead.
  • Available in English & Spanish

CALCULATE: The Cost of Rent-to-Own

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use a credit card calculator and some data from Consumer Reports to compare the cost of “purchasing” a washer dryer from Rent-to-Own versus purchasing the same washer dryer on a credit card.

CARTOONS: Predatory Lending

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Examine a number of cartoons about predatory lending and choose one to analyze in more depth
  • Explain the cartoon's key message about predatory lending and how it depicts that message

COMPARE: Types of Identity Theft (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:
  • Explore the various types of identity theft and risk factors for each.

FINE PRINT: Auto Title Loan Agreement

With this Fine Print students will be able to:

  • Read an auto title loan agreement by reviewing details such as interest rate and payment schedules  
  • Recognize how auto title loans can cause consumers to fall into deeper debt

FINE PRINT: Payday Loan Agreement

With this Fine Print students will be able to:

  • Read a payday loan agreement by examining details including APRs and interest
  • Recognize how payday loans can cause consumers to fall into deeper debt

INTERACTIVE: Have You Been Hacked?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Complete a quiz to see how many times their personal information has been hacked
  • Propose solutions to avoid these hacks 

INTERACTIVE: Payday Loans Across the Nation

In this activity, students will:

  • Navigate how states across the country regulate payday lending by comparing key details such as usage rate, maximum amounts, and term conditions.
  • Explore how payday loans can cause consumers to fall into vicious cycles of debt.

INTERACTIVE: Shady Sam

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Play the role of a loan shark 
  • Understand what tactics lenders use to maximize their profits
  • Determine which loan terms increase profits for lenders
  • Learn about different types of loans and fees lenders offer and charge

INTERACTIVE: What If You Played the Lottery? (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Simulate playing the TX Powerball and collect class-wise data on their outcomes to determine whether the lottery is a good “investment” of their money.
  • Available in English & Spanish

 

INTERACTIVE: Win the Powerball!

In this activity students will be able to: 

  • "Play" the Powerball using an online lottery simulation and explore the likelihood of winning the huge jackpot
  • See how they fare standing up against the powerful positive imagery and allure of the Powerball advertisements
  • Complete an optional math bonus section to dive a little deeper into the probability of any individual number being selected a winner

MOVE: Is This a Pitfall?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about some common financial pitfalls and realize that individual values and circumstances have a great impact on the financial decisions people make.
  • Get up and moving, out of their seats!

PROJECT: Create a Scam Guidebook

In this Common Core Standards-aligned project, students will work in groups to create a Scam Guidebook. Once each group contributes, the class will have a full Scam Guidebook that each student can reflect on.

PROJECT: Create a PSA or Ad for Predatory Lending

In this Common Core Standards-aligned project, students will work in groups to create either a public service announcement teaching their audience to stay away from predatory lenders OR create advertisements convincing their target audience to use their type of predatory lending product.

PROJECT: Launch an ID Theft Awareness Campaign

In this Common Core-aligned project, the entire class will launch a Public Awareness Campaign to help students at your school learn about different types of ID theft and ways they can protect their information. Students will work in groups to conduct research and create communication tools that they will use during the campaign.

PROJECT: The Million Dollar Question: Is the Lottery Good or Bad?

In this Common Core-aligned project, students will engage in a debate on whether state-operated lotteries benefit or harm lottery winners and society as a whole. Students will take a side, conduct research on arguments and counterarguments, and form a personal opinion after the debate.

PROJECT: The Real Relationship Test: Reconcile Your Finances

In this Common Core-aligned project, students will take on the role of a character who is soon to be married and practice reconciling their finances with a partner on a variety of topics in their financial lifestyles, such as housing, debt, etc. Students will then reflect on the importance of having a conversation about finances with a spouse or partner.

PROJECT: Write a Children's Book on Bankruptcy

In this Common Core aligned project, students will work in partners to write and create a Children’s Book about Bankruptcy.

READ: Bankrupt at 23

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Read and respond to a blog post from a woman who had to file for bankruptcy at age 23 because of out-of-control credit card spending and debt.

READ: Personal Loans

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use this reading guide to learn about all personal loans and strategies to use if a family member or friend asks for money.

RESEARCH: Bankruptcy Web Quest (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use the internet to research definitions for key bankruptcy terms.
  • Define the vocabulary in their own words and provide examples.
  • Available in English & Spanish

ROLEPLAY: Say NO to Loan Requests (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Role-play declining to give personal loans to family and friends in a variety of real-world scenarios.
  • Available in English & Spanish