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Financial literacy for students

By Murray Bourne, 03 Oct 2008

I've been saying for a long time that one of the most important things for students to learn is money math. This topic is usually given a low priority in most math curriculums. The current financial crisis is due in large part to people who were easily sucked in to bogus "too good to be true" schemes (mortgages and complicated derivatives) that they didn't understand.

Here's an interesting resource: Financial literacy for students from HotChalk [no longer available].

One of the best items there is this simulation from, Karma Tycoon: A Free, Real-time Financial Strategy Game. I say "best" because it actually places the students into a role and requires them to make decisions from the point of view of that role. It is more likely that deeper learning will result from such a lesson design (online or off).

As the blurb for Karma Tycoon says:

Instead of trying to make a million dollars, users are making the world a better place by running nonprofit organizations (homeless shelters, animal shelters, youth centers, senior centers, and performing arts centers) in different cities across the United States.

The rest of the topics in the Financial literacy for students resource include:

  • Let's Go Shopping [Elementary] - students need to 'purchase' items and also need to play the role of cashier
  • Area and Budgeting Fun [Middle School] - students need to design a house
  • Creating A Budget [Middle School] - students create their own budget
  • Credit Card Responsibility [High School] - this is a good article with a good list of credit card dos and don'ts, but it's not a lesson and doesn't require students to do anything
  • High School Financial Literacy Outline [High School] - a check list for teachers to ensure they have covered the main points
  • How To Save and Invest - this is just an article and there's nothing for the students to do

There are some US-centric articles (from Horace Mann, an insurance company) included in the resource:

  • Expense Deductions Available to Educators
  • Look for the True Value in Homeowners Insurance
  • Why Do Auto Insurance Rates Increase?

And finally from Visa (who is a sponsor of the resource):

  • State Standardized Financial Lesson Plans, Preschool through College Level

You may also be interested in my Money Math chapter.

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