Activity Idea: Putting A Face On What It Means To Be In Debt

I often hear my high school students remark “why would anyone ever allow themselves to be in debt?” when they see the costs and consequences of being saddled with debt.  Unfortunately, most people don’t plan to be in that situation…life just happens.

I stumbled upon this website, the Debt Project, that I thought would help to put a human face on debt but also help students to understand the life events and decisions that help lead to indebtedness.  The Debt Project has portraits and 47 first person stories that are handwritten and describe the amount of debt and the story behind the debt.

So, what’s the activity idea?

A great assignment would be to have students pick out 10-15 of the stories (they are quite brief) and see if they can find any common patterns or events that might explain why people find themselves in a financial hole.