Values Auction Print

A Lesson Plan from Life Planning Education: A Youth Development Program (Chapter Two)

NOTE:  Life Planning Education (LPE) is currently being revised. The printed/for-sale version includes an older version of this lesson plan. Please make sure you have looked at the PDF of Life Planning Education before purchasing - that is the version that is available to buy.  

Purpose: To rank the importance of various personal values.

Materials:One copy for each participant of the handout, “Values Auction,”; twenty play-money bills in amounts of 500; pen/pencil

Time: 30-40 minutes

Planning Notes:

Purchase play money at a toy store or make your own by drawing a page of currency, featuring bills in amounts of 500. Duplicate them on appropriately colored paper.

  1. Say that one way to find out what anyone values the most is to ask him/her to assign a monetary value to the things that seem important.
  2. Ask if anyone knows what an auction is. Have someone describe an auction or explain that it is where people bid money for items. The person who bids the most gets the item in return for paying what she/he bid.
  3. Explain that you are going to auction off certain items important to many adolescents. The participants will use play money to purchase the items.
  4. Distribute the handout and ask the participants to put a small check or star beside any items they would like to purchase through bidding.
  5. Say how  you will conduct the auction:
    • Each of you has 10,000 in play money to spend.
    • You can bid any amount up to 10,000 for an item. You must bid in quantities of 500 or more. So that means you can bid 500 or 1,000 or 1,500 and so on.
    • If you make the highest bid for an item, you pay for it. Once your money is gone, you cannot bid on additional items, even those you really want.
    • When an item is sold, please write the amount of the winning bid in the first column on your handout. Write the greatest amount you would have been willing to bid for that item in the second column.
  6. Be sure everyone has a pen or pencil and begin the auction:
    “The first item is LOOKING GOOD. Who will start the bidding at 500?”

    Conduct the auction like a real auctioneer in a lively, spirited manner. Use humor to keep participants’ attention and to keep the bidding moving. If things move too slowly, increase the minimum bid amount to 1,000. Continue the auction until each item has been sold.
  7. Conclude the activity using the discussion points below.
Discussion Points:
  1. Judging from the bidding, which items were most valuable? Which were least valuable? Why?
  2. Do you think an item was most valuable if lots of people bid on it or if it went for the most money or both? Why?
  3. Was there an item you really wanted that you couldn’t purchase in the auction? What can you do to make that item a part of your life? (Say that winning or losing the item in the auction isn’t important. What matters is noticing what you bid on because that shows what you value, at least now, at this point in your life.)
  4. Are you satisfied with what you bid on? Do you feel that your bidding accurately reflects what you most value in life?
  5. Were there any items that no one seemed interested in buying? If so, why do think no one was interested in it (them)?
  6. How would your parents have bid in this auction? Why?

Life Planning Education, Advocates for Youth, Updated 2009.
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