Financial Literacy Month takes place in April and many educators look for ways to provide opportunities for their students to learn about what it means to be financially literate. Originally started by the National Endowment for Financial Education, it transitioned from being a one-day event to an entire month-long celebration. The Jump$tart Coalition took over the planning of the event in order to raise financial literacy awareness and promote financial education.
Being able to make good financial decisions is more important than ever. The financial system looks very different now and it will continue to change in the future. There are always new developments and methods of making purchases in the digital world, which means we need to expand the content and learning opportunities for students. For instance, with the rise of things like NFTs and cryptocurrency, which are entirely new for many people, we must help students understand what they are and their impact.
Educators can save time by exploring some of the many resources (free and paid) that make it easy to provide valuable lessons. Also, there are many financial literacy games that teachers can try out, which are a great way to get students interested in this topic!
Finding the best ways to teach financial literacy to students
Many schools across the United States are starting to include personal finance courses as part of high school graduation requirements. As of last year, 25 states have introduced legislation to bring personal finance into the required high school curriculum. There are many resources available for students in all grade levels from elementary school through Higher Ed that will help them develop a greater awareness and build their knowledge of managing finances and everything related to long-term planning. But first, let’s answer two questions that teachers often have:
What is a good example of Financial Literacy Education?
Many important tasks related to financial literacy are part of our everyday financial lives. Students need to be able to do tasks such as maintain personal funds and plan a budget, apply for a loan, prepare their taxes, and purchase a home.
In my school, students are required to take Personal Finance and some also enroll in a course called “Entrepreneurship and Business Management.” Some topics include goal-setting, spending plans and budgeting, banking services, wages and deductions, credit card and personal loan management, identity theft, investment essentials, and career planning.
One of our business teachers, Mrs. Patsy Kvortek, created a “Sports and Entertainment Management” course years ago to help students better understand how to start a small business or plan major events.
How do I get my students into Financial Literacy?
In the classes I’ve mentioned above, students also learn to use communication tools necessary for the 21st Century workforce. Not all schools have similar programs, which is where some traditional tools like board games or digital resources can help.
It’s so easy to make financial literacy fun. For example, Financial literacy board games such as Life, Monopoly, or Payday have been useful for teaching about spending and managing money.
Additionally, whether through learning modules, projects, or games, we can help students develop their financial wellness skills. Educators can create learning experiences related to entrepreneurship (for example) and have students work together to design a product or create a solution to a problem. They will need to analyze information, find funding, plan a budget for their expenses and many more authentic and real-world tasks while connecting it with the content they are learning.
Read more: Teaching students financial literacy with education technology
7 Financial literacy games for students that are worth trying
Financial literacy games provide fun ways for students of all ages to learn about finances on various topics. Some websites have grade bands with interactive ways for students to explore creating a bank account, setting a budget, applying for a loan, and many others. Many of the options available include financial literacy games for the classroom.
This tool offers free resources for students. Through its interactive platform, there are activities for three different age groups. Students learn how to manage their money and even test their decision-making skills when it comes to spending. Educators can also receive free printed workbooks that align with each financial literacy course. The courses give students the chance to learn through real-life scenarios such as tracking and reporting revenue, applying for college loans, paying off debt, and more.
EverFi has free resources for teaching financial literacy. There are self-paced courses for elementary, middle, or high school students. At each level, there is a specific focus. Students in elementary school, learn the basics of finance, while middle school students learn how to start a business, create a business plan and balance a budget. The courses expand these concepts at the high school level, where students then learn how to apply for loans, invest money, manage a budget and focus on long-term financial planning.
FDIC Money Smart
This financial education program has many resources for educators and students to learn about finances through many activities, including games. One game is called “Play and Learn” where you collect coins as you respond. There are 14 different games on borrowing, earning, protecting and saving money, among other subjects. FDIC has resources including infographics and activities to assess “How Money Smart Are You?” which is broken down into grade bands and even has options for starting a business with resources to support students and adult learners.
Read more: Top benefits gamification can bring to the classroom
Nearpod is an interactive platform that can be used for live or student-paced lessons. It offers a library of lessons and activities for financial literacy month on topics like credit scores, mutual funds, saving for retirement, buying a house, stocks and investments and even robo-advising. Teachers can include content they created such as PDFs or PowerPoint presentations and add in activities to make it more interactive for students. There are open-ended responses, quizzes, polls, matching and videos with questions can be embedded. It also has Immersive Reader, which prompts accessibility and includes content from providers such as Flipgrid and Newsela, which can enrich the lessons and have students respond to prompts.
Play Money Magic
This game has a character named Enzo who must manage his spending to get to Las Vegas and perform as a magician. It’s interactive and very visually engaging for students to use as they make decisions about spending and look at the impact of these decisions on their budget. Students can decide what items they need to create and stage the show and how to allocate their starting funds.
Read more: How to teach students entrepreneurship over an online platform
Practical Money Skills
This is a website for students and parents to access resources for learning some finance basics. There are several games for students as young as three years of age through college. Some of the games are Cash Puzzler, Peter the Pig’s Money Counter, the Payoff, and more. The site offers lesson plans and videos for students in grades pre-K through high school, college and for special needs. Some topics include budgeting, managing debt, dealing with identity theft and setting up a savings account.
Quizizz is a game-based learning platform with ready-to-use games and even lessons for teachers with topics related to financial literacy. Teachers can search the library to find a quiz or lesson to use quickly or edit it and make it their own. Searching for financial literacy brings up many results and you can even try searching by specific focus like budgeting or loans if you need particular topics.
Why make financial literacy fun for students?
Students need the knowledge and the skills to make financial decisions, manage their money, and plan for their future. Helping students understand what good habits are when it comes to money and investing, learning how to pay for things, and avoiding unnecessary debt is something that we need to make space for in our schools.
Financial literacy is an essential skill for everyone. It is important that we create fun and engaging opportunities for our students so they’ll quickly assimilate and retain information that could otherwise seem boring to them at first.