Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Uncle Bubba Is Dead!

Christine Thornton


Given the scenario of being left an inheritance, students are told that they must spend all of that inheritance by purchasing a home and furnishing three of the rooms. All of their money, within $100, must be spent on this home.


The student uses problem-solving strategies to determine the operation needed to solve one-step problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers.

The student solves real-world problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers using an appropriate method (for example, mental math, paper and pencil, concrete materials, calculator).


- Home, furniture and appliance magazine(s) --i.e. Service Merchandise/Sears-enough for each student
-Permanent markers
-Preconstructed blank books
-Extra scrap paper in needed
-Balance sheet (see associated file)
-Rubric (see associated file)


1. Cut out several selections from all magazines, have at least twice as many selections as you have students.
2. Place these cutouts into labeled file folders, (homes, bedroom, ect.).
3. Make copies of balance sheet and rubric.
4. Construct home books using 5 sheets of construction paper (size is preferential) and plastic combs for bookbinding. Make enough for each student to have one.


NOTE: Prior knowledge needed of how to use a calculator and rounding to the hundreds place.

1. Explain to the students that their distant Uncle Bubba has died recently. He left them a sizeable inheritance of $100,000. The only thing is, old Uncle Bubba has stipulated that only use the money to buy and furnish a home.

2. The objectives of this lesson are to determine correct operations to compute balances and to utilize a calculator to compute these balances.

3. Discuss with the students the things they will need to buy for each of the rooms. Discuss various options of furnishings, not all rooms are the same, explain that the house comes with nothing already in it. Discuss various entertainment items. As a class discussion have students predict how much they think each thing will cost. Start with predicting house prices and then explain they will be furnishing a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room and selecting up to 2 entertainment devices, (TV, stereo, ect). Give realistic estimates of how much rooms should cost. Explain tax will not be charged and they are to round to the nearest $100.

4. Distribute calculators and balance sheets. Show them examples of the things they will be choosing to purchase and where they can find the price for each. Thoroughly explain each box on the balance sheet and what you expect to go there. Encourage the students to write in pencil. Explain that they may find themselves spending too much or not enough in one room and may have to go back to adjust. Explain to the students that they MUST spend all of their money within $100 and cannot exceed their $100,000 limit.

5. Distribute copies of the rubric. Thoroughly discuss each component of the rubric so the students are aware of what is expected of them.

6. Circulate the magazines containing houses, home furnishings, and electronics. Once they have chosen their items they are to cut them out and keep them.

7. Allow for discussion and sharing of ideas then circulate and monitor that balance sheets are being properly filled out.

8. Give each student a preconstructed blank book.

9. Explain to the students that each page of the book will be for them to glue something on:
a) The cover will be the picture of the selected house.
b) The first page will be the furnishings for the living room.
c) The second page will be the furnishings for the bedroom.
d) The third page will be the furnishings for the kitchen.
e) The fourth page will be the two entertainment/electronic devices.
f) On the bottom of each page they should write in permanent marker the total cost of the room (this total should be already computed on balance sheet).


Use a rubric (see associated file) to assess the finished product. The finished product will be the Balance Sheet on which the students tracked their spending by determining the operations to be used and by computing those operations with a calculator to reach the final total.


This lesson was designed as an age appropriate lesson for ESE learners functioning 2-3 years below grade level placement.

Extension-Language Arts: Go to a local bank and ask for mock checkbooks with registers (your local educators credit union is usually very helpful). Using the balance sheet, have students keep a running balance in their check registers as they write checks for each of their purchases. Students would need prior knowledge of check writing before performing this extension exercise.

Extension-Technology: Have the students shop on line for the homes and/or furnishings
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