I have a class that does a life simulation.  It is something I have pieced together and modified every year.  Kids live through 3 months and each class day is the equivalent of 2 weeks.  They would pay their bills, deposit checks, receive emergencies, etc.  I am struggling with the necessity of teaching check writing.  I write very few checks anymore.  I do everything online.  I need to bring this project, that I love, into the 21st century.  I am thinking about creating a Google spreadsheet for each student.  It would represent their online banking.  They could deposit checks, pay bills, even write a few paper checks, and I could even through in debit card uses they need to record.  I am not an expert with spreadsheets, but I can learn!  My question is, does this sound doable or am I overlooking the something?  Is there an easier way?  Is this an easy way?  I welcome any thoughts.

Thanks,
Shaughn

Tags: Adult, FACS, Finacial, Google, Responsibilities, Roles, and, docs, literacy

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Shaughn, I am teaching my Personal Finance class the importance of maintaining a check register and reconciling it. We have gone over how to write a check and debit cards. I have my Computer Applications class develop a spreadsheet to maintain their check register.

Google spreadsheets would definitely work. Have you checked out Quicken Online? I haven't yet, but that was my next step.
Hello Shaughn,

I am sorry I am not knowledgeable about the spreadsheets, but I agree that you are going the right direction with your plans. At my school, the teaching materials for personal finance involve checks and a checkbook register! When I look for plans online, I find things that are too complicated or costly. If you can, would you please give a few more details about how your lesson plan works. It sounds wonderful.

best wishes,
Deborah Kerwood
Deborah,

Do you say "checks and a checkbook register!" as a good thing or a bad thing? I have been doing checks and checkbook register until now. General overview of simulation:

* Evaluate applications, discuss do's and don'ts, apply for entry level position. They receive a salary based on how well they filled out app.

* Calculate pay; net & gross for annual, monthly, weekly, and hourly

* Find housing and car (must pay insurance and buy plates)

* Develop list of household and personal costs

* Receive a bill calendar for personal tracking. I tell give them the due dates. Bills include: rent, car, cable/internet, electric, phone, groceries (every Friday $50.00), gas/activities (every Saturday $65.00), student loan (they draw to see if they have one), personal needs, household needs, and monthly emergency (draw from me).

* Day 1 we live for 1 week on the calendar. They draw their pay situations from me (sick missed 3 hours, 2 hours at time and a half, etc). They have to make a deposit after they calculate their pay. Then they start paying bills. They paperclip all checks and deposits and give them to me. I check all of them in every night :(

* They all have mailboxes. If they completed everything correct from the day before they have a piece of candy in their mailbox. If not they have late notices with late fees, bounced check notices, etc. I even give them littering fines if they leave trash in my room. Some times I will give them a fake $100 bill with my face on it that says Happy Birthday, Grandma Loves You. This way they get practice depositing cash not just all checks.

This is a very general overview, but a lot to post here. I like the general format. I do not like checking in 25 sets of checks every night! It can be like balancing 25 registers if things don't seem right! I also do not like feeling like it is a bit outdated! I think just changing to excel will bring this to where I would like it. If you have any ideas please share.

Shaughn
This would work but if you wanted to take it to the next level, you could try Virtual Business - Personal Finance (http://www.knowledgematters.com/products/vbpf_preview). We just installed it this year and has been a phenomenal success within our classes. The students love it and more importantly presents some important concepts.
Virtual Business looks great. However, when I saw the price tag my balloon was deflated. I guess I better master the excel plan. Thank you for your input.

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