Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Investing In Others (9-12)
Unit of 3 lessons

Unit Overview:

Focus question: As consumers, how do the choices we make affect global poverty?

Unit Purpose:

Students explore the benefits and costs of credit and using a credit card. They role-play a shopping trip and come up with arguments for and against buying something they want but do not need. They examine how their personal choices affect other people. The students plan and carry out a service project that advocates for financial responsibility.

Unit Duration:

Three 45-Minute Sessions, Plus time to plan and carry out a service project

Unit Objectives:

The learners will:

  • explain how credit is can be both helpful and hazardous to individuals and communities depending on how it is used.
  • examine the individual and global effects of overuse of credit.
  • analyze credit card debt as a "commons problem" and suggest ways the civil society sector could help to resolve it.
  • explore how credit is can be both helpful and hazardous to individuals and communities depending on how it is used.
  • role-play a shopping experience involving impulse spending.
  • define impulse spending and buyer's remorse.
  • examine how to spend responsibly, and how their personal spending affects the rest of the world.
  • locate nonprofits that provide support for families that cannot afford to meet their needs.
  • plan a project to teach others about financial responsibility.

Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

Students use their talents and resources to design a project that teaches others about the importance of wise use of credit or that advocates for laws to support responsible credit. They use social media or other projects that are meaningful to their peers in their advocacy campaign.

Notes for Teaching:

Young people may think that the ways they spend, save, invest, or donate their money do not affect anyone but themselves. They may think that their choices influence only their own lifestyles. This could not be more false. Each spending choice has a ripple effect in the global economy. Our purchases fuel the economy by paying the salaries of others. Local economies are all connected globally, and are influenced by how individuals make decisions. The manufacturers and retail shops we support sustain people around the world, who in turn sustain the health of our planet and our own personal welfare.
The fair trade industry has raised awareness of socially responsible purchasing. It has created visibility for the journey that our products take from grower to grocery shelf. It informs consumers that when we buy a bar of chocolate, we are sending a message to a chocolate manufacturer and grower. Do we want to buy from a company that treats its employees well, or from one who sells the cheapest product? Do we want to buy from a company that uses sustainable farming techniques and pays a fair price to its farmers?  Responsible consumers know that they vote with their money.  Our purchases influence the sustainability of resources, the environment, and the habitats of all living things.
A good consumer is a person who makes responsible choices with his or her money. A good consumer evaluates options and makes the best choice based on economics, quality, and benefits to society. Sometimes the best choice is not the least expensive choice.

Bibliographical References:

DoSomething.org’s Homelessness Homepage
An in-depth introduction to and resource for poverty and homelessness.

United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report
 In 2010, a report showed our progress in achieving the UNs goals concerning hunger and poverty. The first goal is to reduce by half the number of people earning less than $1.25 per day. Go to page 8 of the following URL to see a graph showing our world progress and to identify the countries and regions with the greatest need: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/MDG%20Report%202010%20En%20r15%20-low%20res%2020100615%20-.pdf
CNBC.”What is government debt and who is holding the money?”
A slideshow illustrating the debts and financial holdings of nations from all over the world.
Wikipedia. “Government Debt:”
A thorough, basic introduction to government debt.
National Council on Economic Education. “Financial Fitness for Life”
A neat online game that allows you to calculate the best deal between multiple financial scenarios – mostly math-based, and more for personal understanding than for global awareness.
NPR. “Global Pool of Money Got too Hungry”
This 13-minute NPR story explains the global financial crisis caused by subprime mortgages.
Scholastic.com. “A Kid’s Economic Glossary”
Simple definitions of some essential-to-know economic terms.

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

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