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Grade 9-12
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Lesson

Car Loan Project

Updated: May 2 2019,
Author: Wendy Clark

Each student will buy (hypothetically) a car that will need to be financed. The student will need to look at different options and decide which will be the best choice for his situation. The student will need to find an advertisement for a car that he would like to purchase. Each student will hand in a report that details his findings.

Introduction

white carTell the student that they are going to buy a car that will need to be financed. The students will need to look at different options and decide which will be the best choice for their situation.

The students will need to find an advertisement for a car that they would like to purchase. The students will hand in a report that details their findings.

Learning Objectives

  • Use economic concepts and mathematical calculations in making hypothetical decisions about buying and financing a car.
  • Work with their families in experiencing this real-life application.

Resource List

  • Edmunds Car Buying Guide: This web site features both new and used car prices and also gives (under Tips and Advice ) excellent discussion of leasing versus buying, and whether to trade-in a vehicle or sell it yourself.
    www.edmunds.com/

Process

Loan Interest Rate Length in Years
I 8% 5
II 9.75% 3
III 10.25% 4.5
IV 18% 2.5
V 22.25% 4
  1. Have your students find an advertisement for a car that they would like to purchase. Remember to look have the students look at different options and discuss with their parents which car will best suit their needs in your present situation. For the cars that they will consider, have the students use “Edmunds Car Buying Guide  ” or “Kelly Blue Book  ” to learn how the advertised prices compare with market prices generally for cars of the same make, year, and model. Edmunds has both new and used car prices and also gives excellent discussion of lease versus buying and whether to trade-in a vehicle or sell it yourself.
  2. After finding the ad for the car of their choice, have the students fill out the SECU Credit Union auto loan application form . Make the students decide whether they will have a down payment or a trade-in. Tell the students that they need to be sure to use realistic values. Also remind them that they don’t have to put down actual information, they may make it up. Your job could be the job you have now or a future job.(NOTE: this is a classroom activity and remind your students to not fax or send in your assignment to the Cascade Bank.)
  3. Tell the students that once they have found the automobile of their choice and have determined the amount they will be spending on the car, that they need to calculate the monthly payments. Explain to the students that the “Amortization Calculator  ” may be helpful in calculating the monthly payments according to the amount of borrowed principal.Have the students calculate the monthly payment for their car for each option below using the monthly payment formula (neatly handwritten).
  4. Have the students provide a word processed summary of their project. Have the students explain what they think their best loan option would be, and to justify their conclusion. Also, discuss with the students what situations might make them decide not to take based on the following:
    • The lowest interest rate
    • The smallest monthly payment
    • The shortest time
    • The loan with the lowest cost

    Tell the students that as part of their written summary, they may include what they have learned from this project.

  5. Explain to the students that the following information must be included in their final report:
    • Evaluation sheet
    • An ad for the car of their choice
    • A completed loan application
    • Monthly payments for each option calculated by using the monthly payment formula (neatly handwritten).
    • Total cost of the loan for each option (monthly payment multiplied by number of payments-neatly handwritten).
    • Printed copy of an amortization schedule of the loan option that is best for their situation
    • A word processed summary of which is the best loan option for their situation along with a justification of why. A summary of what the students have learned from this project should be included in the written summary.
    • A completed decision making grid

Conclusion

carsTell the students that after completing the lesson, they will have an understanding of the process of buying an automobile via financing. Food for thought: How might this process work if they were to lease an automobile? How would sales tax, insurance, and licensing fees affect the total cost of purchasing an automobile?

Extension Activity

Students could utilize a spreadsheet to check their written calculation for monthly payments and total cost of the loans. Students could also use the evaluation activity to keep track of their progress. Visit this link for a free auto loan calculator for excel.

Assessment

Self Evaluation Rubric: A rubric that will be used to evaluate your project.

Car Loan Rubric: A rubric that should be used to check and make sure the students turned in all their items.