Introduce topic by saying:
You can’t escape it. Anytime someone talks about money, the word “taxes” is soon to follow. Whether it be from your parents or adults in your life, or maybe you hear it on the news. Taxes are always part of the conversation on the political front. Bottom line, the topic of taxation is an important one. But, do you know WHY we pay taxes? WHAT taxes we are responsible for? And WHERE does tax money actually go?
Read the blurb above, then have students read this article: Why Do You Have to Pay Taxes? (Note: feel free to have your students complete the activities at the bottom of the page.)
Have students get into groups of 3-4 and give them a piece of chart paper; organize groups into groups with similar FYG lifestyles. Students should research and discuss the following “common questions people have about taxes.” Students should write discussion highlights of their conversations on their chart paper.
Why do we pay taxes? What’s the point? (encourage students to think about this question positively – pay for programs and services, etc.)
What would happen if I didn’t pay my taxes?
Do I have to file taxes even if I didn’t make much money?
Whom can I claim as a dependent? What does “dependent” mean?
What does auditing mean? How could this affect me?
What are tax brackets? Explain.
Read this article: Stop Coddling the Super-Rich by Warren Buffet. What are key financial terms you will like to learn more about after reading this article?
Once students finish researching and discussing the prompts, have students share out their key takeaways or partake in a gallery walk. Note differences between groups (if any) and encourage students to express their points-of-view. If gallery walks are taken, encourage students to give feedback on each groups’ chart papers. Use post-its to add peer feedback.
Closure: Give each student a post-it or note card and have them submit an exit ticket with the following:
Reflect on their true opinions of taxes and the differences in classmates the class discussion brought to light.
Answer this question:
Why do you think it was important to organize groups by FYG lifestyles?
What did this bring to the conversation?
Did you have similar or different ideas about the questions answered?