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Sometimes the request for money for the things our kids wants seems endless. Money for the movies, a school field trip, yearbooks, a trip to the mall to replace outgrown items in their wardrobe, sports equipment, and the request for a new and better phone, headphones, etc. adds up! We know money doesn’t grow on trees but getting our tweens and teens to understand the value of hard work and the importance of saving can be a challenge.
Since kids need to hear lessons about saving and spending from many different sources in order for the importance of taking charge of your personal finance to start to sink in, T. Rowe Price’s Star Banks Adventure provides another avenue for learning. Star Banks Adventure is an age appropriate learning game designed to teach kids in grades 5-8 about the basics of personal finance like how to set a financial goal and prioritize spending. It also teaches topics such as rate of return, asset allocation, inflation and time horizon, and diversification that can serve them well as they get older.
About Star Banks Adventure Game
Star Banks Adventure from T. Rowe Price is an educational game designed to help tweens and teens better understand the basics of personal finance. To play, players partner with Odal, an alien guide, to stop Overlord Zek, an evil mastermind set on causing financial chaos. Their goal is to use different star banks to save coins, build space devices to travel to the planet Polaria, and learn important real world financial concepts in a fun way.
The colorful sci-fi theme features an engaging story, innovative puzzles, and original quiz questions to educate tweens and teens about setting financial goals, saving and spending wisely, earning interest, inflation and even asset diversification. Tweens and teens solve puzzles, answer quiz questions, and use power-ups to triumph in this space adventure game, while interactive game mechanics make keeping track of game play investments fun and easy.
How to Play Star Banks Adventure
Tweens and teens begin by accessing the game on the web or by downloading the free Star Banks Adventure app for iOS and Android devices. The first time the game is accessed, kids need to create a game avatar by selecting a character before clicking on the path to start game play.
Odal walks tweens and teens through the game and gives them the first task of crafting their own Space Motorcycle along with tips like, “Be careful when selecting your goal, because in the end, you must have enough coins to buy it.”
In Level 1, coins are earned by doing tasks such as mail collecting that involves matching like tiles. When coins are earned, they’re put in the bank to help kids reach their goal. Additional moves can be earned by answering simple questions. All actions contribute to earning money to build their space motorcycle.
As Level 2 starts, players learn more of the story behind the game and are given three options of wheels to add to their Space Motorcycle. Coins are earned in the same ways and money is put towards purchasing wheels.
As tweens and teens progress through the seven levels, they can learn financial concepts through educational game play as long as they read what’s on the screen instead of glossing over it as they race through the various levels.
Using Star Banks Adventures in the Classroom
Tweens and teens can certainly play Star Banks Adventures independently at home but it’s also a great classroom tool for teaching about finance. Star Banks Adventures features a teacher version developed to better help educators deliver the key educational components of the game through a Teacher Dashboard website that assists with administering the game and a separate mode within the game called the Classroom Mode.
The Teacher Dashboard has an easy-to-follow tutorial guide to create a variety of tutorials and allows users to:
- Create online classrooms
- Manage these classrooms
- See how well their students are doing in the game
- Compare their classrooms with other participating classrooms in the United States
The Classroom Mode has been simplified to teach financial concepts and teaches basics like:
- Setting a Financial Goal
- Rate of Return
- Prioritizing Spending
- Asset Allocation
- Inflation & Time Horizon
Before students can play the game in classroom mode, a teacher sets up an online classroom in the Teacher Dashboard. Each student must have a Classroom ID and a User ID to enter the Classroom in the game, which are generated when a teacher creates his/her online classroom. To protect students’ online privacy, students’ names are not entered on the platform but fun pseudonyms user IDs are generated for students such as the names of fruit and sports. Teachers can cross check the pseudonym user IDs with their off-line class list and create as many classrooms as needed.
There is also a Tutorial Section This contains individual tutorials introducing each of the program’s six financial key learnings in the game: setting a financial goal, prioritizing spending, rate of return, asset allocation, inflation and time horizon, and diversification.
Rowe Price recommends starting from the beginning, since game mechanics are introduced progressively but since teachers know their students best, there’s also flexibility jump directly to any topic. Star Bank Adventures can be used only for the puzzles or quizzes, and even to work on a specific subject among the six key learnings of the game. Teachers have the ability to select the parts of the game that work best for their instruction.
Using Money Confident Kids Teacher Resources
When Star Banks Adventure game play is used in conjunction with MoneyConfidentKids.com resources, teachers can be more effective at introducing real world money concepts to their students. Complete educator resources for teachers at MoneyConfidentKids.com feature a separate teacher guides for middle school as well as high school teachers.
Both are full of age appropriate vocabulary and lessons and include a wealth of activities that reinforce financial concepts, activities, age appropriate downloadable magazines for middle schoolers and high schoolers, printables, videos, conversation starters, and more. Resources are designed to assess student understanding and help determine which concepts may need more explanation and opportunity to practice.
The six areas of financial learning covered in the Star Banks Adventure Game are correlated to national standards in personal finance, national standards in economics, and Common Core state standards. A helpful curriculum matrix correlates lessons into classroom lesson plans on financial education.
STAR BANKS ADVENTURE and MONEY CONFIDENT KIDS are registered trademarks of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. Images courtesy of Star Banks Adventure. All opinions are my own.