Financial literacy can be hard to teach. That’s because numbers on a page don’t feel real. With our society’s increasing dependence on credit cards, it’s more important than ever to help students “feel” the realness of their own money. Any effective financial literacy lesson needs to be hands on.
Financial literacy can be taught, but the best ways are hands-on.
This article is posted in full on my Edutopia blog. In it, I share the greatest financial literacy lesson plan I’ve seen for fifth graders from right here at my school in Camilla. Financial literacy is important! We can all integrate it into our courses.
Why Does Money Not “Feel Real” to So Many?
For some reason, using credit cards causes us to buy more junk food. And studies have shown that the more transparent our spending (cash versus credit), the less we’re likely to spend.
As I teach accounting, for example, I find that debits and credits alone don’t excite my students. But when I have them use debits and credits to keep track of their assets, profits, and losses while playing Monopoly, they care about accounting for every penny. As the money changes hands between them, they feel how each dollar is something very real.
They may be using play money, but the tactile experience of having it move through their fingers makes the financial concepts stick. And that is what we want, isn’t it?
There are several ways to make financial literacy experiences hands on: