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This Game Teaches Children the True Cost of Companion Animal Care

Goal: Students will learn how to calculate general costs associated with cat or dog ownership.

Grade Levels: 4th–8th grade

Time: 20 minutes

Audience Size: 5–20 students

Objectives:

  1. Students learn the full range of expenses associated with caring for a dog or cat.
  2. Students will examine how their estimations compare with actual costs of animal care.

 Materials:

  • Sticky notes
  • Price Is Right Game Board (pictured)
  • Pencils
  • Calculator (optional)
  • Laminated pictures of 10 cat or dog-related items

Introduction:

There is no such thing as a free companion animal! Even after you bring an animal into your home, expenses include far more than just food. In this activity, students will improve their understanding of the ongoing expenses necessary to care for two common species of companion animal, a dog and a cat.

Procedure:

  1. Create a “Price is Right” game board. The game board could be designed for a cat or dog. See photo.
  2. Record a typical price for each of the 10 pet items (example: brush, flea and tick preventative, etc.) Keep this list secret for now.
  3. Give your students laminated photos of the pet items they will need to care for their cat or dog.
  4. Ask the students to put a sticky note on each laminated picture.
  5. Ask the students to guess the price of each pet item and write their guess on the sticky note.
  6. Once students have guessed the price of each item, they should arrange their items on the board.
  7. The students should then use a calculator or scratch pad to tally up the total cost of all the items.
  8. After all the pictures are post their guessed prices, reveal how much each item actually costs.
  9. Reveal the the total cost of all the necessary pet supplies.
    *Alternative: Do you have a group of more than 20 students? Make two boards and divide your students into two teams. Remember, you will need two boards and a second set of laminated photos.  Award a prize to the team whose estimated total cost of all the items is the closest to the true total cost.

Summary:

Discuss all the items needed to care for a pet and the importance of  financially planning for a companion animal.

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