Another Day in the Life

Another Day in the Life

In January, we shared an example of an everyday Business Computing lesson from a North High School student’s perspective. Today, we will once again walk in our students’ shoes to examine an example lesson from the Life Skills computing class at Florence Crittenton High School.

It’s 4th period, right after lunch. You, a Flo Crit sophomore, wanted to join your friends and get a burrito from Tacos Rapidos up the street, but you decided instead to eat in the cafeteria. You know you need to save your money because your son has a birthday coming up and you want to throw him the best first birthday party you can, but you never seem to have quite as much money as you think you should at the end of the month. Cafeteria food isn’t the greatest, but the thought of that carne asada you could have had makes it just a little worse.

Like always, you make sure you’re on time to your Life Skills class because your teacher provides free tea and cocoa to students who are on time to help with the usual after-lunch tardiness, and you could use a nice hot drink to make up for missing out on a special lunch. While you settle in for class with a steaming mug, you check the board for today’s “Do Now” prompt and get logged in to your computer. Today, your teacher has asked you to find a local news site and email her a link to a headline that sounds interesting. You browse 9news.com for a minute until your neighborhood’s name catches your eye in a headline about a city council vote. You email your teacher the link, but you also send it to your personal email because you’re curious about what’s going on in your neighborhood and you want to read it later.

Once everyone has completed their “Do Now” prompts and consequently has their computer logged in and ready to work, your teacher helps everyone open an individually-generated Google Sheet linked on Schoology, your school’s learning management platform. You look through your Sheet for a minute while she helps your classmate. There are tabs for six months, January through June, and on each tab there are a couple of columns, one labelled “Income” and one labelled “Expenses”, each with a few spaces below, some labeled (“Rent”, “Food”, etc.) and some blank, some filled in with dollar amounts and some empty, plus a pie chart and some other things you’re not sure about. Your teacher explains that today the class will be playing what she calls “The Game of Life”. She walks around the room with a bag and everyone draws a couple of slips of paper. Once everyone has drawn, your teacher explains that the slips you drew represent events in your game-life for January. Your task, she says, is to add that information to the budget worksheet.

You check your slips for your individual game-life events. According to the slips, you bought a new phone for $500, but you also got a tax return of $1,225. You enter those numbers and you realize that the pie chart on the January sheet has been updating every time you enter data, so it now shows slices for how much you spent and how much you saved out of your total income for the month. By the time you’re done with that, your teacher is holding out the bag for you to draw your slips for February.

Your class plays through the rest of the six months, experiencing game-life events like getting a speeding ticket, buying a birthday present for your mom, getting a bonus at work, and more. You start getting really into the game and get a little mad when in April, your hard-earned savings are depleted by a visit to the emergency room, but you’re ecstatic when you get a raise at work in May and your monthly income goes up. When you get to the final sheet, you see there’s another chart, summarizing your expenditures and savings for all six months, and you’ve managed to save up $1,350!

Your teacher asks the class to talk about what that experience was like. You raise your hand and say, “It’s cool to see all six months together like this. I guess I never really plan out money stuff in this much detail, so it’s surprising to see how much little expenses and savings add up.” Your teacher agrees and then shows the class that she has included another link on Schoology to another Google Sheet, similar to the one you used for the game but this time with a full year’s worth of tabs. That Sheet, she says, is just an extra resource for anyone to use if they want to for their real budget. You excitedly add the Sheet to your personal Google Drive, thinking about how this will make it so much easier to plan for your son’s party while hopefully avoiding cafeteria food if you can make the numbers work. You can practically taste that burrito already.

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