Welcome back! If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know that one of my hallmarks is engaging and challenging students. With that in mind, I want to introduce a game that emphasizes financial literacy for kids.
Here in Texas, financial literacy is now a part of our state standards. Our students are learning about spending and saving, creating budgets, the importance and purpose of credit, how to balance a budget, fixed and variable expenses, types of taxes, and options for saving for the future. With new standards, teachers are on the hunt for new resources. If you’re interested in teaching your students about financial literacy—I’ve got a gold star resource for you today!!
I’ve recently become acquainted with a game by T. Rowe Price. It’s called Star Banks Adventure® Game– http://www.scholastic.com/mck/starbanks/. The creators of the game describe the mission below:
With the help of Odal, an alien guide, students must stop Overlord Zek, the evil mastermind bent on causing FINANCIAL CHAOS! Students solve puzzles, answer quiz questions, and use power-ups to triumph. The game requires strategic planning and wise investing to reach financial goals in order to defeat Overlord Zek.
In order to accomplish the goal, students must use their understanding of budgets to select a vehicle and then collect money for performing jobs in order to pay for the parts for the vehicle they chose. Once they collect enough money to buy the parts, they unlock the next level. Now, I know what you’re thinking—what if students choose the least expensive vehicle and parts to ensure they meet their goal? That’s an easy one—they will not be able to get past level five as they have to collect a certain number of stars, issued at the completion of each level, in order to advance to the next set of levels. Trust me when I say that I learned that lesson the hard way—I tried the “budget” approach and got locked out! Then I had to go back to the beginning and choose a more expensive part in order to earn more stars.
While students are collecting coins from their jobs, they are also learning about spending and saving. For example, when students collect their job pay, they place their coins in a bank. After a number of moves, the program issues an interest payment based on the amount of money in the bank. In the higher levels, students have the opportunity to place their money in different colored Star Banks that earn different rates of return. In addition, students also have the opportunity to spend some of the coins on entertainment. Why spend when they are trying to reach a goal you ask? Because spending will help them get power ups that help them reach their goal more quickly. (Curious as to why? Consider the euphoria you feel when you use the money you saved to buy something that you want. It often energizes you to keep going!)
Throughout the game, students have opportunities to earn extra energy by answering questions about financial goal-setting. In addition, there is a teacher dashboard where teachers can print or display tutorials that review some of the major aspects of financial literacy, including setting financial goals, rate of return, and how to prioritize spending. Teachers can also create individual student accounts and the dashboard will track the students’ progress each time they log in.
Excited yet? Ready to get started? You can get started in five easy steps.
- Go to http://www.scholastic.com/mck/starbanks/.
- Create a new account using the “Teacher Registration” button.
- Create a classroom.
- Prepare students to play the game by providing their login credentials.
- Have students play the game either online at http://www.starbanksadventure.com or by downloading the app. Instruct them to select the option: Classroom Mode – Student Login. Students will need both the Classroom Name created by the teacher/parent and their unique login credentials.
- Let them go!!
Wait! Before you jump right in, I have a few more things to share. I’ve been playing the game for the last week and wanted to pass along some helpful tidbits to help your class have a better experience with the game.
- Create your own account and play the game before your students so that you can help them understand how to collect and deposit the coins into their bank.
- When the students encounter a new level or an area with new obstacles, the game does a good job of providing explanations and help tools; however, you may want to use the tutorials included on the dashboard to help the students understand some of the terminology.
- When students are logged in, they can take quizzes geared toward understanding the different financial aspects of the game. To be sure they are understanding the concepts, ask your students to take the quizzes. Their progress can be monitored on the dashboard. Note: Students have several opportunities to answer quiz questions throughout the game to earn extra energy. The quizzes mentioned here are stand-alones and accessible after students log-in to the game.
- After students have played the game a few times, hold a discussion about what they have learned about financial literacy and what strategies they used to help them get farther in the game.
Want to know more about the game?
Download a free guide here: http://www.scholastic.com/mck/pdf/TRP_StarBanks_Poster_Back.pdf.
Disclosure: While I have become addicted to “beating” this game, this post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price and Scholastic. The ideas and opinions are all my own! Enjoy!
MONEY CONFIDENT KIDS and STAR BANKS ADVENTURE are registered trademarks of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.
SCHOLASTIC and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved.