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Module 13 Putting Your Money To Work: Saving and Investing

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When it comes to saving and investing, there is no “chicken and egg” dilemma. You don’t have to wonder which comes first. You can’t invest if you don’t have savings. Once you have savings, you can make decisions about how to invest them.

With any money you get, you will have some basic choices in how it is used. You can spend it, save it, pay taxes, or give some away.

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Teacher's Guide

This lesson plan can be used as a companion to Module 13 of Money and Youth – Putting Your Money to Work: Saving and Investing.

Relevant Subjects and Topics:

Money, investing, the economy, investing in “you,” the role of investing and investments

Background Information:

Usually students – and others – think of investing as putting money to work to make money. But the concept of investing is broader than that.

Ask students to read Module 13 of Money and Youth and then conduct the following set of lessons.

Students will have the opportunity to think about and discuss various ways to use money. Most of them obviously like to spend money, but they need to be aware that saving and investing can help them in the future. Students probably haven’t thought about investing in themselves. They need to be aware that they can help themselves to improve. For example, by taking courses, such as babysitting or lifeguarding, they will improve their chances of finding part-time jobs.

Usually teens at this age are becoming more aware of their community. Some students will have been involved in raising money to make donations to a charity, or to give of their time to help their community. During these lessons, the class will have the experience of doing something to help or improve their class, school or community.


At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the concept of investing to make something change, grow, improve
  • Understand that there are different ways to invest
  • Explain why a person might want to invest in something
  • Understand the importance of “investing in yourself”
  • Describe ways in which resources can be invested to help others

Time for Implementation:

Five periods – approximately 60 minutes each

Teaching and Learning Strategies:

Period One: 60 minutes

  • Begin by asking the class if they would like to have $5,000. If so, what would they do with it? Using a graph organizer, such as a mind map (see students will brainstorm their ideas about what they would do with the money. These will be handed in at the end of the class.
  • Ask some students to share their ideas with the class and the teacher will make a list on chart paper using the following headings: saving, spending, donating, investing
  • Ask the students for examples of these and record them on the chart.
  • Indicate that only after a person has saved money can they consider spending, donating or investing and for that reason the initial focus of the lesson will be on savings.
  • Divide the class into small groups of five to six students and ask the groups to identify strategies they might suggest in order to save money.
  • Allow the groups time to discuss the question and then get suggestions from the groups.
  • Once they have done this direct them to the list of savings tips found on page 175 of Money and Youth and have them indicate any reaction they have to the suggested list.
  • With this as initial background, indicate to them that the focus will now change to investing.
  • Ask the class to define the term.
  • Then ask the question, “Why do people invest?” (e.g. grow, improve, help someone start or improve a business, buy a home)
  • The teacher will ask the students for examples of how they think people use money to make changes and improve their lives.

Period Two: 60 minutes

  • The focus of this period will be on issues associated with investing money.
  • Begin the lesson by explaining this to the students and dividing the class into four groups. These will be the home groups.
  • Explain to the students that they are going to use a jigsaw strategy to study the information on pages 177 to 188 in Money and Youth.
  • Have the members of each group number off using the numbers 1 to 4 with group 1 starting with the number 1, group two starting with 2 etc. This will help to ensure that these expert groups which will be formed using these assigned numbers will be relatively the same in size.
  • Have the students gather in their appropriate numbered group. These will be the expert groups which will be responsible for becoming knowledgeable about a certain assigned reading and reporting back to their home group.
  • Assign the following portions of the module:
    • Group 1 – page 177 to the middle of page 181 – Investing Money
    • Group 2 – page 179 to page 182 – Investing in Economy, Investment Criteria
    • Group 3 – page 183 to page 184 – Types of Investments
    • Group 4 – page 184 to end of page 187 - Investor Profile, Mutual Funds
  • Allow time for the groups to complete their research and then have the students return to their home groups to give their reports to the members of their home group.
  • Conclude the period by answering any questions that may arises from the group discussions.

Period Three: 60 minutes

  • The teacher will begin this class by asking if anything else can be invested besides money.
  • The teacher will explain to the class that children’s stories usually have a moral and for that reason they are going to refer to two children’s stories.
  • Ask the class to consider the moral of “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Mouse and The Lion” and how the animals made investments that didn’t involve money.
  • Briefly outline the stories if the class is not familiar with them.
  • Lead a discussion about how the little mouse helped the lion by investing his time, and how the third little pig invested more effort to build his house.
  • Divide the class into small groups. Assign the task of brainstorming ways they can invest their time or effort to make an improvement, or to help someone, in their classroom, school or community. The teacher will stress that it does not have to involve raising money. It can also be an investment of time, effort, or creativity.
  • Students can also visit a fundraising website, such as:

Period Four: 60 minutes

  • Using the brainstorming ideas, each group will come up with a plan of action. If they don’t have many ideas, the following list could be used.
  • The groups will come up with a plan, talk to the teacher, and get approval first before implementation begins. The teacher will hand out the Group Work Evaluation Checklist to complete.
  • Students work in groups on their project plans.

Period Five: 60 minutes

  • Depending on the plan, the students may need another class period to plan their project and implement it.



  • Mark the mind maps.
  • Assess class participation.
  • Evaluate ideas and effectiveness of the projects.
  • Assess the group work evaluation checklist.

Modifications or Suggestions for Different Learners:

  • They may also describe their ideas to someone else rather than developing a mind map.
  • Different learners may be put in with others to create their project.

Additional Related Links:

Additional Possible Activities:

  • In order to practice the strategy of mind mapping, the students could develop a mind map to address another issue of their choosing.
  • The students could select a stock that they were interested in and follow its performance for a period of time.
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Parent Resources

Why is this important?

By the time youngsters reach their teen years they should have had experience with earning some money and ways to save it, including such things as a piggy bank or creating saving, spending and sharing envelopes. As a teenager, however, they should be thinking about other ways their savings can be a benefit to them as they start to deal with larger sums of money. Knowing basic banking activities is a start but when it comes to savings options, there are other things that they can do with their money. Some of these things will be determined by the nature of your son's or daughter’s personality and their tolerance for risk. It is important, therefore, that as parents and guardians we take the opportunity to expose them to these options and make certain that they understand their characteristics.

Ways to engage your child and fun things to do.

We need to know the basic personality of our children in order to better understand the likelihood that various savings and investment strategies might be of interest to them.
  1. First of all, we must encourage our children to think of saving some of the money they have. Without any savings there is no point in looking at options for what to do with them. Sit down with your child and ask them what strategy they have for saving money. Do they set aside a percentage of any money they have? Do they save all of it? None of it? Follow this with a discussion of ways of saving more money and, together, develop a list of things they could do.
  2. Once we determine that there are savings to discuss, indicate that the two of you should see how that money is working for your child. If it is in a chequing account it likely is earning no interest, but if it is in a savings account it will be earning some. Check the rate of interest that their money is earning. You can now explore other sources of interest for that money rather than simply leaving it in a savings account. (See websites below for assistance)
  3. Begin a conversation with the old adage “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” and ask your child what it means. Discuss another adage, “The greater the risk, the greater the reward.” With these as cautions, begin another conversation by talking with your child about the possibility of them being interested in taking their savings out of the bank and placing it somewhere else. Ask them what else they might do with the money and then explore those options, including GICs, stocks etc.
  4. Watch the following TED video on making your greatest investment choice and discuss it with your child -

Additional Background and Related Websites and Resources

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