In this module students investigate purchasing a cell phone. They examine the factors that influence their purchasing decisions and compare prices to work out the best deal.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will examine and describe the factors that influence people’s purchasing decisions.

Key concepts:

  • Goods and services
  • Market
  • Choices
  • Financial decision-making

Conceptual understandings:

  • Financial decision-making is influenced by local and global markets and advertising and affects the community.

1. Introductory activities

Word wall

Before you begin, start a class word wall of subject-specific terms and phrases. Add to the wall after each module. Use an app such as QuizletLive(external link) or try a game of Word Sneak(external link) to engage students in their vocabulary learning. Subject-specific vocabulary in module 1 includes:

Te reo Pākēha Te reo Māori
goods taputapu
service ratonga
market mākete
choices ngā kōwhiringa
price utu
value for money he whaihua/whai painga te moni

To test prior knowledge, students can explore their ideas about making informed financial decisions. Using Padlet(external link) or Google form, create an online class discussion, gathering student, family and whānau ideas on this topic. Each day, set a specific question for discussion at home. Do this for a week. Students can then work in class, collating and sorting the answers, looking for trends and outliers, and discussing how financial decisions about bigger purchases can affect the family and whānau.

2. Choosing a cell phone

Have the students, individually or in pairs, create a surveymonkey(external link) or Straw poll(external link) to survey their friends and families.
They can ask:

  • Which phone on the market do you think is the coolest? Why?
  • What kind of phone do you have right now?
  • What made you choose that phone?
  • What do you use your phone for?

Have the students imagine they have won a cell phone of their choice in a local store promotion. They can now to choose their phone and a phone plan that will best meet their needs. They must create a graphic that includes all the details they need to tell the store about the choices they have made.

Have students in groups respond to these questions:

  • How were your decisions about your chosen cell phone influenced by advertising, store information or product information?
  • How were your decisions influenced by what other people have bought?
  • How were your decisions influenced by value for money?

3. Investigating the cell phone market

Students can investigate the many ways of buying a new phone. They can research a range of options and record their thinking on a PMI chart(external link) , recording the positives and negatives of each option, as well as other interesting facts that might affect their decision-making. An app such as ideament(external link) provides templates for graphic ways to record information.

  • Budget cap
    • How does the price of a phone make a difference to its features?
    • Does greater cost automatically indicate that a phone has more features?
  • Compare different companies
    • What companies sell handsets with no plans attached?
    • What is the range of prices on the same item? Why might this be?
  • Second-hand phone or brand new
    • Can we buy this phone second-hand?
    • What are the price differences between buying new or second-hand?
  • Online versus store
    • Can we buy this product online and in a store?
    • What are the differences between sellers that sell only online and those that have both an online and a physical store?
  • Local versus international
    • Can we buy this product from an international retailer, or is it better to buy it locally?
    • What might be the differences between the two?

4. Investigating the cell-phone-plans market

Students can use the internet or advertisements to research cell-phone plans. Alternatively, they can use an online, cell-phone-plan calculator. There are few of these in New Zealand, but MyRatePlan(external link) is an American example that will allow them to make comparisons between plans.

Have students compare prepaid and contract plans and record information about the plans they have researched.


Link to mathematics and statistics

Students collect and display data and communicate findings from this activity.  They could:

  • devise a way to present their results clearly and accurately.
  • present the information on a graph and discuss their findings. 

Links to te reo Māori

Students can extend their number vocabulary in Te Reo Māori, using Kotahi rau/One hundred. Students can practice these phrases in Te Reo Māori:

  • E hia te utu? How much does it cost?
  • Whā tekau tāra te utu. It costs $40.
  • He māmā noa iho te utu. It doesn’t cost much.
  • He nui rawa te utu. That costs too much.
  • He iti iho te utu. It is cheaper.

Shopping list

Students can practise communicating prices by analysing fliers and working out the costs in Te Reo Māori.