Today a student exclaimed, "Finally!!!! I'm learning something I can actually use in real life!" This is why I have incorporated this Budget Challenge simulation into my Economics class. Its helpful that the new proposed CA Social Science standards include financial literacy in Economics now, allowing me to feel more secure on all fronts about really spending time doing this. Of course, we know the truth- she has learned much of what she uses in real life in school, and plenty she will use in real life- but the point is, she doesn't think so- in her eyes most of her learning isn't applicable to her life. Wouldn't it be powerful to have students feel " wow I can use this in real life", on many occasions? For students to have multiple opportunities to choose learning that they felt they could "actually use in real life?" I know I'm not saying anything new, but I think it deserves repeating over and over until there are some drastic changes in education- and to make sure I never forget.
The beginning of this simulation has taken a little more time than I first anticipated but, it is sooo worth it(10 weeks to go). Now that everyone is on the same page and realizes they have to check their emails to know when to pay bills, and they know how to log in their bank and use bill pay - and fill out their budget spreadsheet to make sure they have enough money to pay their bills next month- we won't need to spend much time at all in class with the simulation. Next class we can just check in and see who in class has the highest credit score!
A-ha: Many students feel completely disconnected from what they are learning in school. (I have been in denial about the magnitude of this)
Reminder: Some kids will resist thinking about real life and money. Their fear of the future is real and resistance is just a cover up. Don't give up on them.