Budget Simulation Project Introduction

Budget Simulation Project Introduction
Our federal budget simulation project is designed to let you do research on specific, predetermined research topics.  You don’t have to guess what to learn and write about because the online budget simulation we use,


tells you exactly what areas to research/learn about/write about.

You’re going to work in pairs on the Budget Simulation Project.  This week I’ll give you your partners.  I’m waiting until this week to put you in pairs so our class roster will have time to stabilize.

You and your partner will start work on the federal Budget Simulation Project.  Your goal is to reduce the budget to 60% of gross domestic product by 2024. (Relax.  Congress doesn’t do this, and you two probably can do better.)   Also, for our class, you won’t be penalized if you reduce the budget to not quite 60% of GDP by 2024.

If you haven’t studied GDP yet, GDP will be your first research subject.

This is a semester-long project that lets you:

1. collaborate
2. compromise
3. be tactful as you work with a partner
4. do research and learn about new subjects
5. use logic
6. organize your time and work load
7. meet intermediate deadlines
8. write
9. create final reports based on group decision-making

as much as it gives you practice in making a budget smaller.

2. Writting report

You will write a thorough, detailed, specific explanation of why you balanced your budget the way you did.

When you write your final report, you will write in paragraph form. That means you will use paragraphs; you won’t use bullets to present your information.

Also, when you *write* this budget simulation research paper final, you will write in Word. You choose double spacing, not single spacing.

Use a businesslike font (no handwriting script) in size 10 or size 12 font, and use reasonable margins.
Each of you will write your own, separate budget simulation final report, although you each will be writing about the same reduced budget that you jointly reduced.

Your written explanation of your budget decisions and your discussion of the work you did will be extensive and thorough.
Format of final written report:
So, your final, individual written report for the budget simulation project will contain four sections.
A.  Discuss each category you researched.
In this section you are answering the question “What categories did you research?”

In your final report you will write about each category you (not your partner) researched. You will write at least one paragraph about each category you studied. Each category will have a separate subheading in the final report. So if you researched 15 of the categories, this section of your final report will have at least 15 subheadings with at least one paragraph under each subheading.

You will write about whichever of the subcategories you chose to learn about for each of your 15 categories. You won’t write about the subcategories you didn’t research.  There’s no minimum number of subcategories or subcategory discussions required.
B.  Discuss your research and your research conclusions.
In this section you are answering the question “What did you learn?”

For the budget simulation final report you will discuss your research and your research conclusions. You will explain in depth the business (the business of running the government) decisions you made and why you made them. You will address what work you did and what your partner contributed.
This is where you will write/explain what you learned from your research to help you decide which numbers/dollar amounts/percentages to use in your new budget.
To explain how you got to your final budget, you will have to talk some/a little/not a lot about your partner’s research findings and your partner’s input on the final budget.   You won’t talk much about your partner’s work here.  I will read your partner’s final report to see what your partner did.

In your own final report, you discuss what you did about cutting funding to some areas of the budget, eliminating funding to some areas of the budget, increasing funding to some areas of the budget, in addition to writing the other required parts of your final report.
C. Appropriate graph/chart

You will include some kind of graph/chart that presents important information from your final budget and your final budget balancing report. You will create your own graph/chart, either automatically as you use the online budget simulation software (most students do this) or with a graph-creating software package such as Excel (a few students do this).  You won’t use a graph you find online or in another resource other than this http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt site. Most students do use the red bar chart that the online budget simulation gives you.
This graph must be a bar chart/column chart/other graphic. You can’t include just numbers with no bar chart/column chart/other graphic.

You may use the red bar chart you get after pressing the Play the Game button when you are reducing the budget online. You may copy and paste that chart from Newman’s site.  You may take a screen shot of the chart that playing the budget simulation game gives you, paste that into a Word document, and post that as your chart.

You may use any other software–Paint, Excel, other software–to create an appropriate chart (you don’t have to use other software than Newman’s, but you may if you want to).
Notice that I’m deliberately not telling you exactly which information to chart or which software to use.  You decide what information is important for you to chart and how you want to create your graphic.

You don’t have to use/post the same chart your partner creates/posts in Blackboard, but you may if you want to.  You might post a different chart/graph than your partner uses.

You can’t use a chart that another website (other than the budget simulation site we use) or a book/magazine/other print source has created. You must submit a chart you create yourself, an appropriate chart that shows relevant information from your final budget and your final budget balancing report.

D. Annotated bibliography

You will include an annotated bibliography with your report. You will include all the sources you used, but you won’t include the sources your partner used but you didn’t use in your annotated bibliography. This is your annotated bibliography. I will read your partner’s opinions about his/her sources when I read her/his final report.

NOTE: I won’t be able to grade your budget simulation final project if it doesn’t include an annotated list of sources–an annotated bibliography.

How do you write an annotated bibliography?

When you write your required annotated bibliographies, you will comment on how useful and appropriate your sources were. Some will help you more than others. When you use Internet sources, you will assess those websites for content and ease of use.

Consult these sources to learn more about writing annotated bibliographies:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison tells you how to write an annotated bibliography


Cornell University also explains how to prepare an annotated bibliography



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