First Mobile Phone


1. To promote budgeting and tracking of spending

2. To develop an understanding of the full costs associated with cellphones in various situations

Subject Area

English Language Arts (K-12), Math (4, 7-8), Social Studies (7)


Introduce money management as it pertains to cellphones with the following discussion points:

  • What are the pros/cons to having a mobile phone?
  • What are the costs associated with keeping a mobile phone?
  • Why does signing a contract affect the price of a phone? Are $0 phones really free?
  • What does it mean to sign a contract? What promises are you making by signing one?What happens if you don't hold up your end of the bargain?
  • Talk about some of the terminology associated with mobile phone plans (daytime minutes, mobile data, text messages, roaming fees, overage charges).
  • Out of the students in the class, how many have ever exceeded their mobile phone bill? How much have they exceeded their plan by? How often? How did they resolve the problem?
  • What are the different types of mobile phone plans?
  • What features are most appealing/which ones are most used?


Call Waiting

Length: 1–2 hours
Materials: Instructions for Call Waiting, Plan Sheets (5 cards), Calling Cards (20 cards), calculator

  • In this activity, teach and lead students through the Call Waiting game. Divide students into five groups and assign each group to a plan (this game can also be played individually, with one person per Plan Sheet). Read through each of the Plan Cards to ensure that everyone has an understanding of the specific features described on each plan. Students will then take turns drawing a Calling Card from the middle of the circle and (based on their specific plan) will record on their Plan Sheet how the call/text/browse etc. affected their bill.
  • As this activity is based primarily on the Call Waiting game, please read the Instructions for Call Waiting on page 58 before starting.
  • The game is complete once all of the Calling Cards have been picked up.


  • Divide students into two groups and have them debate the pros and cons of a cellphone. Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
  • After the game is over and if time allows, put all of the Calling Cards back into a pile. As a class/group, go through each card together and assign each Calling Card to the Plan Card (cellphone plan) with which it best fits (i.e. the plan which would record the lowest charge).

Collaborative Feedback

  • Which plan would best suit your phone habits?
  • What surprises did you come across with regards to extra charges?
  • Ask students to compare the cost of landlines, online phones and cellphones.

Teacher Tips

  • Bring in actual phone bills to compare.

Pre- and Post-Assessment of Lesson

  • How does choosing an appropriate mobile plan make a difference to your saving/spending?
  • How did choosing an appropriate mobile plan make a difference to your saving/spending?