Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Income and Outcomes

Thomas Lucey


Students use peer support to reflect on their spending and how it reflects their income and their values.


The student analyzes the impact of economic decisions in the United States (What goods and services will be produced? How will they be produced? Who will buy them?).


- Writing utensils for the students
-Paper for all the students.


Ensure there are enough supplies for the activity. Students should be positioned so that they may break easily break into pairs.


1. Inform students: Income is money that people receive. People earn income by selling natural materials, labor (manual and intellectual) skills, financial assets, and by business development. In theory, employers tend to pay higher wages to employees which are more productive. Workers can improve their productivity by using tools and equipment. You could control the types of jobs and careers attained by staying in school longer and getting good grades. In this activity, you will see how income will affect your spending choices.

2. Have students write down the last time they received money of any type.

3. Instruct the students to write down how they spent that money. Students should itemize the list. You may want to have them list the amount they received for a specific time period (i.e., a month) and then list how the money was spent.

4. Instruct the class to break up into pairs and have the partners assess the expenses. Are the expenses needed? Are they important? Why or why not?

5. Instruct the students to return the lists to each other. Tell the students to use a clean sheet of paper and multiply the money received in Step 2 by 2/3. Tell them this is now the amount they have to work with.

6. Encourage the students to plan out spending for their new income amount. What spending choices do they make? What items have to be removed from their lists. What items have to be delayed in obtaining? Help students to understand prioritizing and delaying spending. Allow student to share/compare how their spending changed.

NOTE: This lesson also applies to the following Tennessee standards:
Approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education
August 31, 2001

Content Standard: 2.0
Globalization of the economy, the explosion of population growth, technological changes and international competition compel students to understand both personally and globally production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Students will examine and analyze economic concepts such as basic needs versus wants, using versus saving money, and policy making versus decision making.
Learning Expectations:
2.3 Understand the potential costs and benefits of individual economic choices in the market economy.
2.4 Understand the interactions of individuals, businesses, and the government in a market economy.


The learner will write a composition explaining how they think people’s lifestyles are affected by their incomes.

Assessment checklist:

---- Composition draws on activity for support in discussing spending choices.

---- Composition considers different priorities based on income levels.


Some people do not have enough income to buy what they need. Have the students write a composition explaining why. What do the students think they can do to alleviate this situation?

Have the students each write a poem about money called: “If I had Ten Dollars.- Discuss the poems and how the students would use the money differently.

Have the students research and discuss Federal Laws and what income elements these laws affect. Here are some examples to research:

The Minimum Wage Law
The Lifetime Learning Income Tax Credit
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Equal Employment Opportunities Act

Web Links

Web supplement for Income and Outcomes
Journal of Consumer Research

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