Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Buying Power

Kecia Hills


As students become informed consumers with a basic understanding of financial and non-financial factors that influence spending, they will make decisions that reflect adequate allocation of funds for their wants and needs.


The student understands how many financial and nonfinancial factors (e.g., cultural traditions, profit, and risk) motivate consumers, producers, workers, savers, and investors to allocate their scarce resources differently.


-Student journals
-Magazines (Seventeen, Forbes, Fortune 500, YM, GQ,etc.)
-Index cards
-Formative Assessment form (see associated file)


1) Gather magazines for activity
2) Make sure that each student has a journal for activity
3) Create handout as follow-up to group activity.
4) Make sure that a copy of the handout is available for each student
5) Create a data chart for formative assessment.


Note: This lesson only addresses the financial and non-financial factors that motivate consumer spending and is constructed with the understanding that prior knowledge of basic economic terms is required.

1) Ask students to ponder the question,- If you inherited a million dollars, on what would you spend it and why?-

2) Review and discuss the concepts of economic activity and consumer spending and discuss key elements that influence consumer spending i.e. production, supply, demand, income, expenses, trends, styles, technology and innovation, etc.

3) Ask the students to form groups of no more than four (4) students.

4) Have each group select a representative to speak for the group.

5) Distribute several copies of magazines to groups, ask the group members to study the articles/pictures within the magazines, select an article/picture that reflects consumer spending and be prepared to explain the choice.

6) Have the representative explain how consumer spending is reflected and what factor(s) influenced spending such as a college student purchasing a computer for term papers and reports or a woman with a -palm-pilot- to manage her schedule for home, children, community and work.

7) Ask other groups to offer varying or supporting details for each of the examples given.

8) Repeat process until all groups have given an example of consumer spending.

9) Wrap-up class discussions and ask students to return to individual setting.

10) Instruct students to prepare for journal activity using the handout. (Have a student distribute).

11) Explain the handout and ask students if there are any questions.

12) Now, say to the students, -In your journals, answer each case scenario separately to show on what you would spend your inheritance of one million dollars given changes in the amount of your -Buying Power.-

13) After the students have completed their journal entry, proceed with a class discussion and review of the assignment. Formatively assess the explanations the students gave regarding the choices they made for spending their inheritance.


Note: This lesson only addresses the financial and non-financial factors that motivate consumer spending.

Evidence: Journal Activity - Given a list of consumer wants and needs, students must choose from a list their preferences for spending as income (resources) increases/decreases by showing, in writing, that:

1) increased/decreased income leads to increased/decreased spending.

2) spending for basic needs remains unchanged despite changes in income.

3) current trends/styles affect consumer spending.


Extension: This assignment may be extended by instructing the students to increase the buying power of their inheritance through savings and investments; taking into account the non-financial factor of risk (This will further address another component of the current standard).
Modifications: This assignment may be modified for ESE students by:
-peer-tutoring where students will work in groups of two
-decreasing the amount of buying power
-increase the amount of time needed to complete the exercise
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