Lowell School’s Tax Project, also known as the Game of Life, is an opportunity for 6th graders to apply math concepts, such as percentages, fractions, and decimals, to a situation most parents are very familiar with—taxes. Students begin by choosing a profession, which comes with an estimated yearly salary. Then, they follow guidelines to calculate their federal and state taxes and their living cost for the DC Metro area.
In this simulation, students learn to make real-life choices. They have to determine where they can afford to live and what type of housing—apartment, single-family home, or shared. They have to create a budget for basic utilities and food, including determining if they can afford to eat at restaurants. They even have to figure out how they will get around, by bus or car.
The goal of the project is to teach students to make decisions that support living within their means. Many 6th graders are surprised to see how much money, if any, is left over at the end of the month. Some revisit their choices and review their calculations to create new results. As students work through different salaries and living scenarios, they categorize living expenses to find monthly spend percentages versus tax deductions. Through the exercise, they gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be an adult, giving them a better sense of how their choices affect their financial futures.
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.