Banzai – More than Tiny Trees
Throughout April, we will be celebrating Financial Capability Month by featuring a variety of financial education programs and resources that you can put to use in your classroom right away. The first of these programs is Banzai! No, we’re not talking about the tiny trees but rather a great online financial literacy program.
Banzai offers courses at three levels Junior (ages 8-12), Teen (ages 13-18), and Plus (ages 16+). Each is free of charge, and teachers have access to a teacher account in which they can set up classes and view student assessment. Printed activity kits are optional but recommended at the Junior and Teen levels. Banzai offers PDF versions of the kits that teachers can print on their own, or you can request printed copies for your students that are made possible through sponsorships from local financial institutions.
- Banzai Junior (ages 8-12): Students begin by taking a pre-test which includes questions related to both financial literacy concepts and math problems with a financial connection. In the “game,” students play the role of a young person who opens a lemonade stand to earn more money and track their income and expenses in a basic budget. They learn about income, expenses, setting savings goals, and the benefits of using a savings account. A post-test helps students demonstrate how much they learned.
- Banzai Teen (ages 13-18): At the teen level, students have three options when paying: cash, checking account, and credit, and they learn to track their expenses in a more detailed budget. The level begins with students understanding how to proceed through the life scenarios. In the game, students have a goal of saving $2,000 for college. They must make choices and manage their money wisely to reach the goal. Banzai Teen also encourages students to manage risk by using insurance. The teen course also has an accompanying teacher’s guide that educators may download.
- Banzai Plus (ages 16+): The Plus level course is designed for older students that are more ready to think about more expenses including housing. At this level, students can view upcoming bills and monitor their mock credit report. The game takes students through a total of 71 paychecks and the decisions involved with each – including how to split use their paycheck. Along the way, students are faced with real-life financial decisions they must make. They can view the effects of their choices on both their budget and their credit.
Look for more featured resources throughout April: Financial Capability Month.
Disclaimer: Resources included on the Making Cents blog have been reviewed by Pennsylvania educators and deemed worthwhile for classroom or professional use. Inclusion does not indicate endorsement by the Pennsylvania Department of Education or Penn State University.