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EconEdLink: Understanding a Balance Sheet

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

Tech Product Equipment

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, computer lab (optional)

Activity Description

In this activity, students learn the components of a balance sheet by working through many problems to strengthen their understanding. Students complete a balance sheet for a business by entering the names of the accounts and calculating total assets, liabilities, and net worth. Students then make predictions on how the balance sheet changes when there are changes to assets and liabilities.

EconEdLink has financial literacy lessons written for K–12. They also provide access to the latest economic news and information. Choose Current Events on the "educator" menu to learn more about what is happening in the world of economics and access related lesson plans. Links to economic data resources can also be found on the "educator" menu. Take time to look this one over, including both the educator section and the student section.


  1. Make sure that the sites are not blocked at your school.
  2. Review the detailed lesson plans and other needed resources.
  3. Download the worksheet and template.
  4. Make students copies as needed. If possible, download the template to computer desktops.


  1. Introduce the lesson and why it is important.
  2. Have students go to the Web site and study the balance sheet. Students will need to select the To Learn More tab.
  3. Have students download or open the template.
  4. Discuss the three parts of the balance sheet.
  5. Change the components of the balance sheet so that students can see how changes to assets and liabilities affect net worth.
  6. Discuss the accounting equation.
  7. Check for understanding by having the students complete the Balance Sheet Worksheet

Teacher Tips

If you do not have Microsoft Excel, you can download Open Office for free or use Google Docs spreadsheet program.

More Ways

Browse EconEdlink online economic and personal finance lessons by Lesson Type, Concept, Standard, Grade, Interactive Resource, Author, or Word Search.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.