Monday, July 13, 2009

Why didn't they teach economics like this when I was a kid?, the website companion to the BizKid$ TV show, really is a fun place to spend time online. (And not just because there’s a really addictive lemonade stand simulator that tells me what factors affect my credit score. Though I must admit it’s a draw!)

Every episode is available to watch for free online (some are even available in Spanish), and the site includes supplemental classroom activities. The show teaches kids about entrepreneurship and community service, with tools available for starting their own business or service project. Every episode is also entertaining; they are fast-paced, funny, and feature real young people with interesting stories about their “biz.”

I remember taking economics as a high schooler, and honestly, it was just boring. We learned how to balance a check book. We read out of a text book about bear markets and bull markets. We learned about a lot that just seemed like it didn’t apply to any of us. After all, most of the students in the class didn’t come from families that invested money, so why should we care about that stuff? The part I remember most was this horrible video about an island and the people who lived there, which was meant to teach us about how market economies evolved and function.

I’m really glad someone has finally moved past this model. One of my favorite episodes of BizKid$ highlights the story of a group of high schoolers who set up their own recording label. Another features a boy who raised money to buy rocking chairs for his local hospital. BizKid$ somehow manages to teach economic concepts without alienating kids and teens, its target audience. It also emphasizes financial literacy in terms of the larger community, rather than just the individual. There are resources available for download for classroom activities, and suggestions on how to best use the show in a classroom setting. So, teachers, take a look!

My record for the lemonade stand game was $352. Give it a try and tell us your high score!

Ruth Goodlaxson
Outreach Intern

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