Help A 6th Grade Teacher With Financial Education?

I received this intriguing e-mail yesterday from reader Ryan:

I am a 6th grade teacher who wants to do a month long lesson on financial education. I was wondering if you have any thoughts and/or ideas as to what you think should be stressed at such a young age? I have broken my lesson down into income, savings, and investing. I hear a lot of people say it is important to teach financial education but I find hardly anyone doing anything about it. Do you have any tips or could you ask your readers to send in their thoughts? Anything would be appreciated.

It’s very true. I am one of those people that think it’s crazy that our kids have to leave school knowing the date the Pilgrims landed but not understanding compound interest. But at the same time, how do you cleverly teach a six-grader something lasting about money?

Your thoughts? I have an elaborate idea for a money game that is either stupid or brilliant (I’ll share tomorrow), but I’d like to hear what you have to say first. Help him out!

Comments

  1. I don’t have an answer for a month long lesson, but I do have an answer for a year long lesson and it’s one of the best teaching ideas I have ever heard:

    He should read the books by Rafe Esquith a teacher in inner city LA, whos students have gone on to do amazing things.

    Rafe and his students go through a year long finance lesson in which they all get “jobs” in the class room. They are paid weekly for these jobs. They are required to pay “rent” on their seat in the class, but have the option to purchase their seat after some savings. At the end of each month (i think) Rafe holds an auction for various things such as movie tickets, school supplies, etc where the students can buy items. They are required to keep a log of all of their transactions also.

    Here is where things get interesting. Some enterprising students save for a few months and not only buy their seat, but they also buy other students’ seats and charge them rent!!

    That is just a small preview of what he does. I highly recommend reading his books, they are fantastic.

    PS… i know this sounds like an ad for him, but it is brillliant when you read what he’s done.

  2. Luke @ realworldreally.com says:

    I remember very well playing the stock market game when I was in 6th grade. The teachers taught us about how the stock market works (as best they could) then gave us a certain amount of “money” to “invest” in whatever stocks we chose. Then we tracked our results in the daily paper every day. The students who made the most money at the end of the semester got ice cream or pizza or something. That was years ago and I still remember it very well, so that might be a good idea to incorporate.

  3. Here is the NPR link to his interview where I first heard his ideas:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....76#6939534

  4. The concept of compound interest should be at the top of the list of financial topics to teach young kids. The earlier that people understand the power of compound interest the better off they will be.

    Many moons ago, I did a speech on compound interest in a public speaking class in college. This, probably more than any other factor, encouraged me to have a savings plan and has me on solid financial footing in my late 30′s. It is sad having to tell someone in their 40′s or 50′s that has not saved much for retirement that they will have to significantly adjust their lifestyle now or in retirement because the did not make the decision to save a little each month when they were very young.

    My college speech gave several examples including the value today of investing 1 cent when Jesus was born and the amount needed to save each month beginning at age 22 or at age 40 to become a millionaire. I had a few non-traditional students in my class (i.e. 30+ years old) who seemed rather depressed after my presentation because it was probably the first time they really thought about savings/retirement and the challenges ahead since they did not start earlier.

    I got an A+ on the presentation! :)

  5. My Crazy Debt says:

    Dave Ramsey has “Junior’s Clubhouse” designed for teachers to teach their students about money through games. I’m not sure if it’s 6th grade material though.

    http://kids.daveramsey.com/?ev.....entId=5300

  6. When I was in 5th grade, we had a few month long lesson on a “Microboard” where we built a miniature city with the help of balsa wood and a 12 foot by 6 foot board that constantly stayed up in the classroom.

    Students bid on ‘building’ the various buildings, city hall, the power plants, etc etc. Me and few of my friends went into “business” together and built a majority of the public works buildings and got “paid” in micro-credits which allowed us to both buy bigger properties for our home on the microboard, as well as more things at the end of the year when we could trade our micro-credits for various prizes.

    The teacher ran his own business and presented the city with problems throughout the few months it was up. For example, one of his boats had an oil spill in the river that ran through the board/city.

    The city residents then had to figure out how to deal with the problems. By this point, we had elected a city council, a mayor, and starting imposing laws and taxes on the city for various things.

    It was a great lesson in business planning, finance, public works, and a million other things.. and it’s also one of my fondest memories of elementary school.

  7. Methinks there might have been a little piggy involved, but perhaps the $25 min monthly might be a bit much for a 6th grader w/ one of them big $5/mo incomes.

    ;)

  8. I would recommend looking into what materials Junior Achievement has. JA is a non-profit that looks to connect business volunteers with schools and they also have specific curriculum on financial education for K-12 students. I’m not sure if they require a volunteer to teach the curriculum or if the 6th grade teacher could do it himself

  9. NCEE is doing a lot and has a plethora of free materials available online. Check out the website for lesson plans…

    http://www.ncee.net/

  10. The problem with stock picking games over a short period of time is that they reward speculation, not investing.

    I think he could discuss the effects of compound interest rates, especially on carrying a credit card balance, without showing them the math. Just give a few different scenarios to highlight different possible setups. I think this is probably the most important thing people need to learn these days, financially.

  11. Aunt Annie says:

    Some random thoughts from a former money blog writer:

    (1) “Income, savings, and investing” … hmm … what about “spending”? Isn’t that the most important category of money education? Debt, of course, would be an integral part of this area. I don’t think 6th grade is too young to discuss smart spending practices, esp since most school systems seem to think once is enough for financial education.

    (2) Also, although it may stir up some problems, I think it’s essential to tackle the taboo of talking about money (personal money, that is, not the abstract concepts).

    (3) One area I’ve found with kids is that they don’t understand where the money gets spent. Kids or teens,when learning for the first time how much their parents make, get very annoyed – even upset – that their parents won’t give them more money. They think “$50k a year is so much money, they are just being mean not buying me an ipod.” The kids have no real concept of the many expenses households have.

  12. in regards to calgirl’s comment,

    I don’t see why the teacher couldn’t teach the JA materials himself, but it’s maybe a little more effective to have the volunteer come.

    The kids get to talk to a real businessperson, someone who has gone through schooling to get the position they have. It helps reinforce both the economic aspects of life, but also focuses on showing how school will help them. After each lesson, JA has some follow-up materials the teacher can use.

    Only thing with JA is it’s sort of meant to be an ongoing thing throughout all the school years, and I’m not sure that the 6th grade curriculum is what this teacher’s looking for, or wants a broader spectrum to pull from.

  13. From what I have found, JA has gone away from the financial side and would rather teach the students “life skills” such as how to interview. I wanted to teach a financial class locally, but they would not go for it and rather went the “life skills” way…I declined.

    I believe the basics of financial responsibility (including how to use/balance a check book, a general understanding of one’s credit and the importance that has been placed on it in today’s society) are not being explained to children today. As I work for a financial institution, we see first-hand those 18-25 year olds that cannot balance a check book and as such crash and burn!

    That is a life skill that these children need. I also believe the issues that can result if financial responsibility is not taken seriously should also be addressed…(not to necessarily scare them…but to scare them!).

    Finally, covering saving/investing should be a big part as well. This can cover the setting up of an emergency fund, CDs, money markets, mutual funds/stocks, IRAs, Roth IRAs, and work retirement plans.

    There is soo much to talk about, scaled down to a 6th grade level of course, but just concentrating on fiscal responsibility and looking to the future (versus “living in the now”) would assist these children best. Put a “mock-checkbook” in their hands and run through some entries…let them gain an understanding as to how it works. Partner with a local bank (if any of your still offer passbook savings) to open some passbook accounts so they can see their savings grow. I would think that hands-on would work best at this age group…now making them think about the future at this age may be a problem…that and their parents’ influence (some parents need to learn these lessons as well!!!!)

  14. I have to agree with Sarah. A lot of times kids tend to listen to an “outsider” ie some outside businessman might be more effective than their specific teacher which unfortunately kids learn to tune out ;)

  15. I don’t have any actual suggestions for the teacher, but one place he might look for resources is the Jump$tart Coalition, a group dedicated to providing financial education to students. On their website, they have a list of resources available online. The link for their Clearinghouse is

    http://www.jumpstart.org/search.cfm

    One of the links on that page is a list of over 300 free publications available, everything from adult subject matter like “10 Questions to ask When Choosing A Financial Planner” to grade school resources like ” A Gift for Mama: Lesson Plan” which teaches kids about saving for a goal.

  16. Seriously: debt. Unless things have changed dramatically in the past 20 years or so, there’s a shameful gap in the education of debt and the consequences of credit card over-consumption. “In the black” finance education (savings, investments, etc) is certainly important knowledge to impart, though it honestly feels less relevant anyone without cash in the bank. Sadly, consumer debt presents a more pressing threat, and the minute people are first flooded with credit card offers (18 and about to take that first leap to financial independence) is also the moment they are most vulnerable (as college students or as newly emancipated adults).

    Perhaps it’s a lesson one must learn for oneself, but then again, maybe you can plant the seeds of some very important knowledge: that credit card limits are not bonus money that you’ll easily pay off some day, that carrying a balance means you are being manipulated into paying twice for something that you only cared about in a long-forgotten past, that the credit industry’s sole MO is to take advantage of legions of uninformed consumers. I don’t know if the consequences (and forehead-smacking stupidity) of falling into credit card debt were never explained to me, or if they were and I simply didn’t listen. Perhaps some of your students might get the message and be better prepared down the line.

    (BTW, thanks for being a teacher!)

  17. Here is a link to a site that had something and they reference a good book for kids. My son loves it.

    Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

    http://www.glc.k12.ga.us/Build.....LPID=17754

  18. I have a feeling that if you educate the youngsters about our current capitalist system, you will likely invoke more rebellious minds rather than conforming ones as most people in their later life learned not to fight the system but to live with it. If I knew the way society works, and I am young enough, I’d say we do a revolution and start a new one. This system sucks.

  19. Greg’s link is an excellent start. If the teacher is in California, he can also hook up with the California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) Financial Literacy program. The program has free materials (some from NCEE) and they also set up volunteers to visit schools (mostly CPAs, but i’ve done it before and i’m not a CPA yet) to talk about financial education.

    They have age appropriate materials, lessons, games, etc. that are tailored for classroom exercises.

    Next week Wednesday there’ll be a California Summit on Financial Literacy in Sacramento, and if the reader is able to visit the Sacramento area, this would be a great way for him to get in direct contact with valuable resources. Information about the Summit is here:
    http://www.calcpa.org/Content/summit.aspx

    The JumpStart Caolition is another good resource for educators:
    http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org/

  20. Luke’s comment just reminded me of my eighth grade economics class (it went along with Government). We had to do the same thing. But I don’t think it was very helpful since we didn’t go into too much detail about researching stocks.

    Then there were the Math classes that DID teach compounding interest.

    I agree it’s sad that students leave school knowing historic facts (important not to repeat mistakes) and dates. When I went to college I had to take a Marketing 101 class, which actually taught me more about the stock market. The professor had assigned each of the students a commodity and we had to track how it was doing. We also had to do a daily article review from the NY Times and decipher what the article was talking about and how it affected companies and their competitors.

    I really liked the ‘take a job’ idea Tom mentioned. It sounds like you could get a lot of people involved as well, like their family. They could take ‘jobs’ or responsibilities at home and their parents could be the ‘employers’. What they earn at home could be used to purchase goods at school, like the movie tickets or the seats, etc. Maybe a barter system could be set up too, so the kids learn how to negotiate?

    Imagine, the kids learning the negotiating skill and using it in the future to talk their teachers into better grades!

  21. I had a lot of thoughts on this topic, so I decided to write it up at my blog, rather than taking up a ton of space here in your comments section.

    The most important thing I have to say is: don’t treat the kids as if they won’t understand. Kids aren’t as dumb as people think. Make it too basic, and they’ll just get bored.

  22. Growing up in a third world country and in extreme poverty, I learned early on the value of money and the importance of being financially prepared. I saved whatever I can to buy school supplies and pay for school required contributions (chalk, eraser, book rentals, etc).

    I came to this country (USA) on a university scholarship and with no money. I persevered and worked hard to get an education (something I can not get/afford in my country). The first day I went to work in Chicago was the beginning of my savings. One effective exercise I did was “net cash flow” projection – I used to estimate how much I will have each month, how much I will spend on the essentials and how much I will save if I follow the routine consistenly.

    At 40 years old, I now own 100% a condo apartment in NYC (estimated market value at $1m). I have currently $750k in savings/investments. The year after I paid off my mortgage, I bought myself a $25k watch. Two years ago, feeling that I needed to worry about “old age” and death, I borrowed on my equity ($100k) and bought 2 hectares of land in my home country. I needed the tax break anyway so why not. When I die, my nephews and nieces can sell the land to finance their education (something I have to fight for).

    I hope this helps your question.

  23. The idea of credit needs to be introduced to these kids at a young age so they don’t go buck-wild when they get their first credit card in college. Maybe the teacher could allow for purchase of treats on credit, while requiring payment of interest at a later date. This would teach kids to delay instant gratification even though it is readily available with credit. The responsible use of credit is one of the most critical skills for a person to develop.

    I’ve ranted before on the subject, but we children need to live under their means. Acquiring wealth isn’t just about how much you make…it’s even more important to control your spending. Thriftiness should definitely be incorporated into the subject-matter. We need to teach children how fun and rewarding it is to save.

    Students should also be taught to understand the difference between wants and needs. Through incorporating the above comments, this principle would be demonstrated by a student satisfying a need (paying rent for desk) by sacrificing a want (a candy bar).

    I’m with Jonathan in being completely floored by the fact that we never teach personal finance in schools. It is absolutely inconceivable to me. No wonder why so many people are completely irresponsible with their money and end up in consumer debt.

  24. I think that at that level, a good amount of time should be dedicated to the basic principal that you can’t spend more than you earn. You also can’t over extend your credit. Investing and financial acumen is great, but without getting the basic principal down of spending vs earning, it will do no good.

  25. I’d highly recommend checking out a program like http://kidswithkash.com/default.aspx

    The founder, Mickey Mikeworth, is incredible.

  26. I would have them start a project outlining how “Johnny” can pay for college. Johnny’s parents aren’t going to be able to pay for school, so what is the best way for him to go about paying for school.

    You can have him get a job, save money from presents given by relatives, etc., You can have them go over the costs associated with state and private colleges. And also what loans might be available for Johnny and the best way he can balance which school he picks with the amount of debt he wants to carry.

    I know some of the kids will have parents who save for them — but for everyone it should be pretty educational. And maybe start some of them thinking about their own future.

  27. Mental Health Therapist says:

    As a therapist, I am constantly working with adults on the link between their finances, their feelings and their childhood experiences with money. It’s hard for my adult clients to learn how to distinguish feelings and what they are trying to satisfy by living so carelessly. As a side note, I have had multiple clients tell me they remember learning how to write a check in 6th or 7th grade, but never learning where the heck that money came from. Disturbing, but true. Many of these clients do not even have checking accounts now because they have written so many bad checks that no bank will work with them.

  28. Looking back, I think I have to admit that I had a very STRANGE 6th grade experience at Emery Elementary School in Buena Park, CA (Buena Park School District, public school). First, I was in a 5th/6th combination class which made things different enough, I suppose. But this is what my teacher did (and I warn you it’s very non-conventional).

    She made her own currency and paid us for things we did around the classroom. Every week we would change “jobs” (chalkboard cleaner, eraser cleaner, ball monitor, plant water-er, whatever) and you had a choice if you wanted to take a job or not. You got paid at the end of the week for doing your job. There were bonuses and penalties (behaviour for example) that could add to or dock your pay.

    She also had “action cards” where you could get some candy, sit at the teacher’s desk for an hour, a creative blank for whatever she agreed to, etc that you could use. I think you can see how quickly her classroom would be come chaotic, but things always seemed normal to me. I suppose looking back, the room was in constant chaos, but it worked out.

    Every so often… maybe 3 times in the year, she had a movie/party/auction where you could bid for things she (and other students) brought in to auction off. It was neat because you could save up your bucks for some really cool stuff! It was much like real life.

    Furthermore, she had a weird way of teaching math. She felt math was a subject that lent particularly well for being self-paced. We were allowed to make our own groups and work through the math book at whatever pace we wished. She would check in and help us out and administer chapter tests, but it really allowed us to teach each other, work as a group, help each other, and progress at our comfortable pace. Being in one of the faster-working groups, we didn’t see much of her, but it allowed her to spend a great deal of time with the struggling groups. I know I wasn’t robbed of anything here, in fact it was fun because we did our share of goofing off while still working faster than state standards anyway.

    Our group was interested in stocks and such. We didn’t know about ETFs or Mutual Funds, but we knew what the stock market was, so we brought in the newspaper every Tuesday and she allowed us to “invest” in stocks with our bucks. We bought and sold and lived with the outcome. Some of us lost money, some of us made extraordinary gains (TCBY and Boston Market rose a ton back in 1995/1996).

    I suppose this is all too far-fetched, but I know this was the most unconventional year I’ve ever experienced in education and contrary to what most people would think, it was the year I developed and learned the most.

  29. crazypumpkin says:

    My 6th grade teacher (way back when), actually did a simple financial lesson that I remember well to this day. Everyone in the class had a ‘job’ which we got ‘paid’ for. He also gave us ‘bills’, just like our parents would see. We had to keep a balance sheet of our ‘money’ and write ‘checks’ out to pay for our ‘bills’. We also had to balance our ‘checkbook’. I think this could be taken even further by teaching simple budgeting and saving, both short and long term. Students could then investigate prices for items they want, and see if it can fit in their budget. Add in a lesson about compounding interest, and I’m sure you’d have plenty of stuff to cover.

  30. Susannah says:

    I think the most important thing that needs to be taught is how to live within your means in the real world. Perhaps give an assignment where the kids have to plan out a budget using the median household income for their area. They have to include housing, food, insurance, savings, car payment, etc. All of the prices need to be gotten from real ads, calling around, or looking at prices in the store. It would be good to have a lesson or two devoted to why saving is important, showing them how much they have to save in order to fund retirement given inflation. I think this would also make them appreciate what their parents spend money on.

    The closest I ever got to having an assignment like this was having to plan a vacation day-by-day to a foreign country and having to budget it.

  31. We played the stock market game in high school economics.

    This is a good link for that: http://www.smg2000.org.

  32. TaxPractitioner says:

    I am a tax practitioner and I believe one of your lessons should be on Understanding the basic of taxes. We have adults who do not understand taxes they know they have to file on April 15th but do not realize that almost everything you do financially impact your taxes. The Internal Revenue web site has a children site with lessons on taxes that may be a good place to start.
    “April 15th come and go but taxes are all year long”

  33. stockdiva says:

    Hi, I just received my May 2008 edition of Money Magazine and your blog is listed on page 120 as one of the Best Money Blogs. Big congrats! I have been an avid reader of your blog for about a year and I agree with the magazine. I wanted to pass the good news on to you just in case you didn’t know about this honor.

  34. Your reader may find this website useful.

    http://www.practicalmoneyskill...../teachers/

  35. The state of North Carolina has substantial instructional resources at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/pfl/ that Ryan may find useful. A lot of the “practical” stuff about managing money is under Secondary but is probably can be adapted for 6th graders.

  36. I am definitely into the idea of teaching them about compound interest. I think that may be the single most important thing to teach them if you want them to understand why they should care about personal finance.

    Would they really get it at that age? I don’t know. Maybe you could find a way to connect it to the math they are studying. Or maybe it will just have to stick there in their heads until they’re ready to re-examine it once they get older.

  37. Back again, after stewing on this topic at work all day.

    I sell auto insurance, and I see WAY too many young adults calling in asking about the insurance on the 08 model they just drove off the lot. Well congrats on the new car, now too bad you can’t afford to insure it.

    I love the gasp when they say “but that’s as much as my car payment,” as I think to myself “when I was 18, I drove a 15 year old POS with liability only, and even those car and insurance payments seemed like a ton of money.” It just floors me how many people think things like this come cheap. And don’t even get me started on how many people just don’t understand how car insurance works…

    Please teach them something about this!

  38. In eighth grade, we ran a simulation that I think was supposed to teach us about the harsh realities of tenant farming or something like that. It was a lot more, ahh, hands-on that most of the simulations discussed so far. We were each given a “loan” of paper money that we could then use to rent a small plot of land (3″x3″ or so) and tools and buy radish seeds and fertilizer. As our radishes grew, we sold them back to our teachers for more paper money, with the goal of eventually paying back our debt.

    At the end of the simulation, extra money could be used to buy candy or skip out on homework. Those students still in debt were “indentured” into cleaning the school bathrooms during lunch time until their debt was paid off.

    It taught us about debt, but it also taught us about the hard work that goes into earning money in the first place. Those classmates who hadn’t wanted to spend the time tilling and fertilizing their land thoroughly at the beginning, or who couldn’t be bothered to stop buy at lunch and water. . .lost out on a whole lot more free time at the end.

  39. Christine says:

    http://www.orangekids.com is a great interactive site by ING Direct aimed right at this age group.

  40. The US Mint has a section that is set up with resources for teachers and parents.

    http://www.usmint.gov/Kids/

  41. Let’s not forgot to teach kids to be skeptical of advertising! Why do we want so many things in the first place? Why do so many confuse “wants” and “needs”? Is it possible to help children see through rampant consumerism?

    One of the best lessons my parents ever taught me was to analyze commercials. For example, a commercial for a 4WD may sell you on an adventurous lifestyle and try to convince you that their product is a shortcut to having an outdoorsy, carefree life. Without a healthy skepticism, it is easy for adults – not to mention children – to start wanting what they see.

    Much like the author of the excellent post on GetRichSlowly, “How to Inoculate Your Children Against Advertising” -http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/03/05/how-to-inoculate-your-children-against-advertising/ – my parents helped me cultivate a skepticism that has served me well, especially in light of the never-ending stream of messages about the things we are all supposed to “need.”

    An easy exercise for kids this age would be to keep a “commercial journal.” For 30 minutes, make a list of all the commercials you see: list the product itself, what claims are made about the product (stated or implied), and if you believe their claims. A follow up exercise could be to figure out if you want what they are selling, why you want it, and then analyze if you want the product or want the “vision” more.

  42. Vivian Chau, a middle school teacher says:

    Primerica has a workshop for how parents can talk to kids about money and saving in a developmentally appropriate way. I was fascinated by the idea that I should only deal in cash in front of concrete young minds, that don’t understand that debit cards and credit cards are linked to bank accounts, etc.

    I live in Hawaii and the Hawaii Council on Economic Education hosts regular workshops to teach teachers how to teach about money/stock market/etc. You may want to see if your state has one too!

    http://econed-hawaii.org/default.aspx

    Good luck!,
    Vivian

  43. Michelle says:

    Another great thing to incorporate into your lesson would be the tools available to manage and analyze your income/spending/debt/savings. For me, MS Money saved my financial arse. MS Money (Quicken/fancy xls) can really make a difference in visually seeing what is coming in and what is going out. And more importantly, where it is actually going (through their categories for all transactions). I enter 3 months of future regular expenses (including regular transfers to savings) and expected income so I know if I am going to have any left over for some fun. It is also great to see that in 3 months, how much more will be in my savings account. A check book register just looks like a bunch of numbers, but graphs can really show what those numbers really mean.

  44. I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the “cash crunch” and how to prepare for it. It put forth ideas such as tapping the equity in your home, sucessfully opening credit cards, etc. all before your credit takes a hit due to late bills.

    What scares me is that much of our country feels that is exactly how to get ready for a cash crunch (versus CUTTING SPENDING).

    Why not be basic with it: money can be spent, saved and given away (charity). Why not discuss the benefits of all three of these, keeping it simple.

    This teacher is definately on to something though…she needs to talk to the 7th – 12th grade teachers to keep this ball rolling!

  45. I completely agree with DB, above. Teaching kids about marketing and how to see through the hype is very important. They have to learn that there is an entire industry with lots of very smart people dedicated to getting them to spend their money.

    I often sit with my seven-year-old son and analyze commercials for marketing slogans, hidden costs, and the actual value of the advertised items. We have made a game of it. He enjoys telling me how long it would take him to save for the total cost of an item, tax and shipping included. He also knows that terms like “free with your order…” means you are paying for additional stuff and can probably find the item cheaper elsewhere.

    There is a pretty good e-book put together by a sixteen personal finance bloggers called, “Money Matters For All Ages.” It contains an article for pre-teens called, “Personal Finance for Children and Pre-Teens,” and another called, “Teach Your Teen the Basics of Money Management.” It can be found at most any of the finance sites that contributed. Just search in Google for “money matters for all ages.” It comes up in the first three results.

  46. Congratulations to Ryan for being brave enough to teach kids about money. Its can be tough crowd. I believe he is on the right track with picking three topics and sticking to those three. There are many resources to help him on line that are free. Worksheets and role play will work extremely well with this age group. Lecture (as he knows) for this age group really does not work past 20 minutes. For a one hour class time I would have a warm up worksheet, an overview of the subject, an activity, and a closing review game. I would flash card review questions and make them into a team styled game. This has been a real gas with this age group and we often make it like the game “Who wants to be a Millionaire”. If you want to talk to a human, contact any of our websites. And thanks again to Ryan for taking the leap.
    Mickey Mikeworth
    Financial GURU

  47. I played the stock market game with my dad when I was in second grade. My father is a financial advisor. I still remember it very clearly as the “profits” were the funding for my first savings account.

  48. There is a teaching game that I used my own children about this. It is called “Cash Flow for Kids”. What I most like about this game is that it includes income and expense, but investing, business ownership and passive income. The game stops when the first player has passive income greater than their regular expenses — that is they are effectively retired whether or not they are 65 years old. Also the examples are not so unrealistic. A child will gain a framework for classifying financial choices: Income, Passive/business Income, Re-occuring expense, Doodad expense.

    In this way, both business, investing and wage based concepts are shown in a way where they interplay. The book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki is an interesting perspective on the differring financial messages given to rich or poor children about finance.

    My children directly recognize the difference between a “doodad” expense such as a boat and an investiment such as vacant land. I expect the fun was only worth about 4 to 5 hours worth. Perhaps such a game could be used as a before, during and after approach to fixing the main lessons in the student’s mind.

    If funding were not an issue, my MBA professors used online business situation simulators to engage us in very plausible business decissions under competitive conditions. Divide 35 MBA candidates into 7 teams and give the winning team an A on the assignment and business competition sets in with great force. I realise that win/lose games are not always popular or appropriate; yet, addressing competition is a real factor in both investing and business.

    Better still, “Co-opetition” or mixed cooperation and competition is a very real and likely competitive outcome. There is a reason that a Chick Filet will be next door to Burger King and a Pizza Hut — Each business benefits from attacting customers and do not directly compete on customer food preferences — “Co-opetition”.

    Touching on business is worth considering for another simple reason. About the time these 6th graders are ready to seek a college education, the cost of buying a franchise business may actually cost less than a college degree. A fair living can be made owning 4 to 6 hair cutting stores that can eclypse what a college graduate is likely to earn.

    I am not against college, I have my degrees. Even I am not the business owner, knowing why my actions benefit the future of a business makes me a more valuable employee.

    Paying careful attention to the value I provide to a company has a great deal to do with developing and growing a career even in a world where global competition is a factor that touches everyone — From value flows money, data, effort and time; from this flows income.

    As my children are homeschooled, I spend more time than usual considering what should a new century child needs to know to be truly educated. Best Wishes on your teaching and self learning efforts, for I know that a teacher learns twice the lessons that the student gets.

  49. Vidal Aponte says:

    Wow, it is true how our kids will learn first when pilgrims landed before compound interest. That shows how backwards the educational system is. I worked for the educational system for 15 years, and believe me they are all backwards. Any teaching that involves compound interest, math should be first. Have you noticed that almost every job out there today involves some type of numbers. What does that tell you? Teach them math period!!

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  1. @Randem » Blog Archive » What would I teach a 6th-grader about finance? says:

    [...] I see that a sixth-grade teacher wants to teach his student about finance, I find it encouraging. But at the same time, I find it equally scary that even this [...]

  2. [...] for all the diverse and interesting insights on teaching kids about money, I learned quite a few things myself. As I was trying to think back and remember what I personally [...]

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