• Heather

How To Teach: Paying For a Purchase When Shopping

Importance of Paying for a Purchase

The checkout step at any store can be overwhelming. Some have signs on the ground, some signs are at hip level, and some are up above. Some have only human cashiers and others have a combination of self check out and cashiers. Some have only 1 check out lane and others have 10 or more.


Going through check-out when shopping to pay for a purchase takes practice to learn how to choose the right lane, move through the steps at a steady pace, and walk out without leaving any of your purchased goods behind.



Focus Skills

-Identifying the right check out lane for your purchase size

-Where and how to place items on a conveyor belt

-Where to put the divider on a conveyor belt

-Where to put an empty basket

-How to scan a savers card, pay, and take bags

-How to pay using a debit card machine

-How to scan at a self checkout



Why Focus On These Skills

For some, checking out can be the most difficult step in shopping. There is interaction with machines, humans, and bags and there may be additional small talk or questions or close proximity to other shoppers. These steps shouldn’t be forgotten and explicitly teaching can help students to navigate this constantly changing expectation more smoothly.



When To Teach

Be sure to wrap up your shopping lessons (navigating a store and comparing prices) by teaching students how to work through the check out process. While it is ideal to teach this soon after you start teaching students how to shop, it may be valuable for students to have completed the checkout process a few times so they have background knowledge to build off of.



I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!


Lesson Objective

Students will identify the appropriate line to enter to pay.

Students will place their purchase on the counter or conveyor belt and use the appropriate divider.

Students will pay the cashier using card or cash and coupons/savers card.

Students will gather their purchase before leaving the store.


Lesson Vocabulary

Bag, conveyor, credit, debit, divider, limit, pay, PIN, scan, self check out, swipe


Resource Perks

  • Pre and Post assessment

  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)

  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills

  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)

  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment

  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)

  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)

  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)

  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics

  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement

  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills

  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting

  • Word search of key vocabulary terms

  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics



Ultimate Goal

Since each checkout experience will be different, openly reinforcing the 4 P’s (Pick, Park, Place, and Pay) will give students the verbal and visual model they need to assist them in navigating future check out scenarios.



Links to Curriculum


Paying for a Purchase Lesson Unit


Navigate a Store Lesson Unit


Comparing Prices Lesson Unit


Shopping Lesson Unit Bundle


Life Skills Curriculum Bundle



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