ATLANTIC CITY — Northfield Community School math teacher Karen Schroeder’s wish list includes owning a boat someday.

On Thursday morning, she and school Principal Kevin Morrison took 45 seventh-graders to the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show at the Convention Center and put them to work on a real-life financial literacy problem: Could they find a boat that met both Schroeder’s wish list and her budget, between $20,000 and $40,000?

“My experience has been that the more exposure students get at a young age to real-life situations, the better off they are in the future,” she said. “We talked about a boat being on a ‘wish list,’ not their ‘need list,’ and that there are a lot of other things that come with buying a boat, like insurance and gas.”

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Morrison arranged for the students to attend the show for free. They arrived early Thursday, when the show would not be too busy and the students could ask questions of boat dealers and insurance agents.

Armed with binders listing their lesson’s guidelines, they searched out boats priced at $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 and calculated what it would cost to buy and insure them.

Michael Perlman, 12, John Palaia, 12, and Owen Meade, 13, found a Boston Whaler they thought was big enough to cost at least $100,000.

“But it’s like $500,000,” Palaia said as the trio took a tour.

A group favorite was a more reasonable pontoon boat costing about $30,000.

Kayla Dinofa and Lilly Sher, both 13, were not as surprised the Boston Whaler they looked at was $360,000.

“It’s got lots of seats and a mini-kitchen,” Dinofa said.

As they met to go home, students said the primary lesson they learned was that boats are expensive. The most expensive boat students found cost almost $1 million.