Dollars with Sense (DwS)

Program for Grades 7 to 9

DWS is a fun and interactive, hands-on program that helps students develop financial literacy skills, so they can make informed decisions about their finances today and set goals for their financial future. With the newly modified lessons, built to adapt to our everyday changes, students learn about budgeting, money management, credit management, saving, investing and financial goal-setting. Dollars with Sense is available in English or French.

Teachers can deliver the program on their own, with the option to include pre-recorded volunteer-delivered content, or a volunteer can visit the classroom to do an hour of programming. We try to be as flexible as possible to support teachers!

This curriculum enhancing program allows students to

  • acquire knowledge and understanding of a broad range of financial concepts and practices
  • use critical thinking skills to make sound financial decisions
  • communicate an understanding of a range of financial and money management concepts
  • apply and express acquired financial knowledge in oral and written forms

Download the Program Information sheet.

Sponsored by

Teacher Led Class

Self Directed Program

Volunteer Facilitated Program



Program Overview

Classroom Model

  • In Nova Scotia this program is best delivered at grade 9 or 10
  • Enhances and reinforces skills learned in social studies, healthy living, citizenship, languages, science, and math
  • Teaches through hands-on activities and discussions
  • Co-Curricular with skills and concepts related to math, citizenship, business, financial literacy and economics
  • JA programs are free to school, teachers and students


  • Supports critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Engages students to reflect about the real costs of living
  • Connects students to real world issues
  • Helps students understand their rights and responsibilities as consumers

Benefits to Students

  • Personal Financial Literacy
  • Economic/business awareness
  • Direct contact with the business community
  • Reinforces team-building skills as students work in small groups
  • Encourages “smart consumerism” by educating youth about financial literacy

Teacher Roles and Responsibilities

  • Use JA Consultant Kit to facilitate interactive lessons
  • Facilitate the in-class lessons
  • Set-up the classroom (assign student groups, rearrange desks and chairs into 5 or 6 small groups)
  • Utilize follow-up activities
  • Present student certificates
  • Use of online Multi-resources (optional)
  • Use of live or recorded volunteer

Program Content

Lesson 1 – Money Makes the World Go Round

Students develop a money management self-profile and explore how their values and goals for the future factor into spending and saving their money. They will discover the real cost of using credit and that different countries use different currencies. Next they explore the most appropriate forms of exchange for making purchases and payments.

Lesson 2 – Smart Shopping in an Online World

Students examine their spending habits and reflect on the factors that influence their spending. They will also calculate the real cost of interest and demonstrate how to make smart financial decisions. Issues about safe website and buying are online are also introduced. Consumer rights are explored.

Lesson 3 – Spending, Saving, Sharing

Students differentiate between needs and wants and talk about what being wealthy means. They learn how to prepare a budget for an event. Students also reflect on the importance of budgeting as a means of looking after their money and helping them meet their financial goals. Credit Scores are discussed.

Lesson 4 – Make Your Money Work For You

Students learn about a variety of investments, including savings accounts, Canada Savings Bonds, GICs, mutual funds and stocks, and reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of each investment. Students learn how to read a credit report. We wrap up with a Money Bingo game, bringing together many of the ideas they learned during the program.

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