Money Traps Game (HS)

Suggested Target Age: Grades 9-12

Topics Covered: consumer scams, rent-to-own, identity theft, payday advance loans and other disadvantageous financial instruments

Time Required: 60-75 minutes

What Will Students Learn?

  • What several common financial pitfalls or “money traps” are
  • What kinds of skills are needed to avoid those money traps, and alternatives to those money traps

State Standards Content Key:
California: None
Florida: Economics: SS.D.1.4
Indiana: Economics: 8.4.8, 8.4.10, E.6
Virginia: Civics and Economics: CE.9; Economics Education and Financial Literacy: Objectives 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14

NOTE: This lesson does not require computers or Internet access. You will need to do it in a fairly large room if possible.

Materials Required:

Teacher Preparation:

1. Print out the Money Trap Signs, the Money Traps Description & Activity Sheets, the Grocery Store Items, Price Tags, Credit Card Offer, Waldo Pictures, Waldo Checklist, and the Fact or Fiction Cards.

2. Cut out the Price Tags and the Grocery Store Items for Money Trap #1.

3. Cut out the Fact or Fiction Cards for Money Trap #5.

4. Move any chairs in the room to the sides of the room to clear out as much floor space as possible.

5. Select five separate areas of the room and mark each one as a Money Trap. Place one sign in each area.

6. Place the correct Money Trap Description & Activity Sheet face down on the floor in each of the five areas (e.g., put the Sheet for “Identity Theft” in the Identity Theft Money Trap area). Also:

  • In Money Trap #1, put the manila envelope with the supplies on the floor. Also place the grocery store items across the table or the floor. Mix up the price tags and spread them out across the table or the floor as well.
  • Put the Credit Card Offer, Waldo Pictures, and Waldo Checklist at Money Trap #2
  • In Money Trap #3 place the the Peg Game Board and 14 buttons (or small pieces of construction paper).
  • Place three squares of paper on the floor in Money Trap #4.
  • In Money Trap #5 place the Fact or Fiction Cards.

7. You will need 5 facilitators. One should go to each Money Trap. Give each facilitator a “Facilitator’s Guide” to their Money Trap. The Facilitator’s Guide is very similar to the Description and Activity Sheets found at each Money Trap. The difference is that the Facilitator’s Guide has instructions for the faciliator in italics.

Lesson Plan

1. Divide the class into five teams of at least 3 persons each. Send each team to one of the five money trap areas. A facilitator will be at each Money Trap. If you have alot of space, it may be fun to use masking tape to make a circle that the students must stand in to complete the Money Trap. (This makes the students feel like they are actually “trapped”.

2. Explain to them that the six areas of the room are Money Traps. Tell them that in today’s lesson, they will be learning about some common things people do with their money that can be disadvantageous. We’re calling those things “Money Traps.”

3. Explain that in each Money Trap, they will be reading a description of the trap so that they will understand what it is and why it is a Money Trap. Then they will learn about one kind of skill that would be good to develop in order to avoid that Money Trap. Then, just for fun, they will complete an exercise or activity that is loosely related to that skill. In some Traps, each member of the team will have to complete the exercise before the team can move on to the next Trap. In other Traps, the team will work cooperatively as a whole to complete the exercise. The Description & Activity Sheets will give them the directions they need. (Facilitators will also have guides.)

4. You will want to allott a certain amount of time at each Money Trap. (We recommend 8-15 minutes.) Tell the students their time limit. Some of the activities might not be finished in the time given (i.e. they might not be able to solve the peg game in Money Trap #3). On the other hand, some of Money Traps might take less tahn the allotted time (i.e. they may be able to finish the balancing game in Money Trap #4). In either scenario, the students should remain at their Money Trap until the time is up or all of the groups at other traps are finished. The teams will rotate through the five Money Traps in numerical order, from the point where they started. In other words:

The team starting in Money Trap #2 will move to #3
The team starting in Money Trap #4 will move to #5
The team starting in Money Trap #5 will move to #1
Etc. etc. etc.

5. When all the teams have completed all the Money Traps, gather the students all together for a quick de-brief session. Ask the class for a brief description of each Money Trap. It would also be fun to reward the groups that did the best overall job on completing the Money Trap exercises.