Personal Bankruptcy Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

This lesson plan explains Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws and processes for individuals. A video lesson guides students through these concepts, then students interact with content in a simulation before taking a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'bankruptcy'
  • explain Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • discuss the pros and cons of declaring personal bankruptcy


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Lesson video Personal Bankruptcy: Law & Types and printed copies of the transcript, one for each partner-pair
  • Prepared packets that represent families of differing sizes and circumstances, with information such as income, mortgage/rent, insurance, loans, and other financial information, one packet/family for each partner-pair (each scenario should represent a family in different stages of debt stress)
  • Bankruptcy worksheet, one for each partner-pair (use one associated with filing bankruptcy paperwork)

Key Vocabulary

  • Bankruptcy
  • Discharge
  • Creditors
  • Bankruptcy Code
  • Trustee
  • Liquidation
  • Exempt assets
  • Priority
  • Unsecured debt
  • Secured debt

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Divide students into partner-pairs and give each a prepared packet.
  • Instruct partners to look at their scenarios and notice their income and expenses. How much do they make? How much do they spend? How much do they owe?
  • Tell students that for this class they will imagine they are this family and need to make an important financial decision.
  • Ask students to determine if they think they will be able to pay their debt based on the information they have. If not, ask students if they'd like to have some of the debt forgiven.
  • Explain that bankruptcy allows some debt to be forgiven, but there are some advantages and disadvantages.

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