This lesson will enhance middle school life skills. Check writing is an important ability to master. Banking, shopping and understanding budgets are also important life skills.
Banking and Shopping
The basis for the following activities is to teach middle school students through role play how to write checks and listen to numbers so that they may respond appropriately in real-life situations.
To begin, the teacher will need to create a classroom bank and a shopping area. This can be done in whatever way works best for the class and teacher.
handout of "checks" to be filled in by students (click here for a template)
overhead of a check to demonstrate how to fill-in a check properly (click here for template)
list of words having to do with check writing and numbers - you can include some slang terms, also (click here for list)
- play money - you will need a several packages to divide between the bank and your store
- small objects to "sell" - this can be anything from plastic fruit and veggies, to small school supplies that the students can actually keep
- lots of imagination and enthusiasm
Writing a Check
Using the overhead projector, demonstrate to your students how to write a check. Explain what each line is for and why it must be accurate. Begin with the date; then "pay to the order of"; next, show how to write the amount in numbers and words; demonstrate what might be found in the "for" or "memo" line; sign the check; finally, show them how to endorse the check on the back before cashing it.
Have the students then write a check for which you dictate the information to go on the lines. Have them check each other's work as you write it on the overhead.
Once the students have a grasp of how to do this, have them pull a "job" from a basket that will indicate the name of a classmate, the job to be listed under "memo" or "for" and the amount to be paid to that person. (It is best to keep it at a small amount at first.) Once they are done, have them deliver their checks.
Going to the Bank
Students with paychecks can go to the bank to cash them. To begin, you should be the banker. Check the accuracy of the check and see that it is endorsed. Give the student the amount of cash for the check.
As the students learn the process of check writing, you can have volunteers be the banker.
Now, the student can go to the store.
At the store, have a volunteer be the proprietor. Price items ahead of time so that they are reasonably priced. For instance, if students are paid $20 for their work, then items should be under $20. Students will practice saying and listening to various numbers as well as making change.
A variation of this, if the teacher wants to give the students more of a real-life feel, is to "pay" students for the classroom jobs for a day. In other words, if a student is assigned to pass out papers, at the end of the day, they get their "check." The following day, they can go to the "store."