The Cost of Being Poor

Seventh-grade students dig into financial details of everyday life. In this simulation students navigate imaginary lives making choices as they purchasing house, transportation, food, and other necessities and luxuries. They accumulate assets or amass debt. Interest rates, percentage fees, and other mathematical skills are employed. Students are randomly draw their starting position: lower or middle class. As the simulation unwinds students observe the many ways it costs more to be poor.

Faculty: Melissa McQueen - Math 7

Dates Offered

December 7, 2018
January 11, 2019

Explore More

  • Go to:  Read more about the costs of being poor. Read this article in The Economist or this Op-Ed by Matt Fellowes of the Brookings Institution.

  • At home: Here’s a twist for family game night. Play Monopoly using rules that are modified to demonstrate the effects of socio-economic status.

  • Movie night: The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will and Jaden Smith, shows one family’s struggle to advance against seemingly crushing economics odds. Rated PG-13.

Why Pretend?

This Justice seminar is a follow-up to STEAM seminar Money Matters in which the basics of personal finance were taught. The Cost of Being Poor applies newly gained financial literacy to sociological issues. The simulation model builds empathy and develops skills in critical thinking, cultural competence, and collaboration.