Federal Budget Simulation

Lesson Duration

“…After analyzing the proposed FY 2020 discretionary budget, students will be asked to design a FY 2021 budget with a group of their peers. Through the simulation, students will learn the importance of the budgeting process and that decisions concerning how our government spends its money form the basis of most national government policy.

This lesson plan is designed for 4 to 5 class periods of 50 minutes. It can be adapted, however, to accommodate other schedules. This program can also be adapted for a school-wide event, with teachers facilitating groups of 10-15 students in their budgeting sessions.”


Students will:

  • evaluate how money has been allocated in the FY 2020 discretionary budget.
  • consider the additional needs of our nation in FY 2021.
  • discuss the programs and issues that they think are important and consider how much money should be allocated to those programs.
  • discuss the pros and cons of deficit spending.
  • design their FY 2021 discretionary budgets.
  • present their rationales for their budgets to the larger group.



The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library