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Money Island: a financial literacy virtual world

What it is: Money Island is a neat site I found today while searching for some fun tie ins for our economic inquiry block at Anastasis.  This enchanting virtual world teaches students about money and how the economy works while they go on quests to destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Atlantis.  Students learn and practice the real-life principles of financial responsibility.  Students build knowledge and skills in three major areas including: saving and spending, earning and investing, and using credit wisely.  In addition to these major areas, students learn how to spend, grow and give money; the difference between wants, needs and taxes; different types of income; gain an understanding of interest; how to use credit wisely; and how to build wealth. The site includes detailed lesson plans and activity suggestions for the classroom, as well as a specialized area within money island where teachers and parents can see what students are learning and track progress. Money Island was created in partnership with the Young Americans Bank.  This bank was designed specifically for children under the age of 21!  Our students will be taking a field trip to the Young Americans Bank in Denver to continue their learning during this block.  If you are in the Denver area, it is a great field trip! How to integrate Money Island into the classroom: Kids are not exposed to enough opportunities to learn and practice financial literacy.  Case in point: the national debt crisis, housing loan disaster, and credit card stats. It baffles me that we don’t spend more time in the classroom helping kids learn about money and finances!  Every teacher should take this on in some capacity, we can’t assume that someone else will teach it.  Kids need to learn about how the economy works prior to being neck deep in financial decisions on a daily basis.  Money Island is a fun introduction to all of this! Students begin their journey in Money Island with a mission to help character Stone Broke.  Students choose a virtual side-kick who will guide them through Money Island and help them make important decisions.  Students are directed through a series of quests to help Stone Broke while learning about money and how to make sound financial decisions. Money Island is a virtual world so it takes a bit of time to get all the way through it.  When students login, they are given a special key so they can pick up right where they left off in the game.  This is a great site for a one to one classroom environment or computer lab setting where each student has their own computer.  The site could also be used as a center activity on classroom computers with students rotating through the center throughout the week.  Because students can save their progress, they can play from both school and from home. Money Island makes a fantastic tie-in to a money or economics unit for kids. ***Hint: Click “Join” to join.  For some reason the “Play” button is a little bit temperamental.  It worked for me the first time I played with it but not the second…not sure what that is all about! Tips:   There is a new game featured on Money Island…Episode 2 helps students learn how to “win” at the credit game.  There are also fun mini games and comics on the site for kids to interact with and explore! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Money Island in  your classroom!

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Buzz Lightyear in Orbit

Posted by admin | Posted in Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 17-06-2008

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What it is: Buzz Lightyear in Orbit is part of NASA’s website for kids. The site uses the popular Toy Story character, Buzz Lightyear, to teach kids about the next space mission with Atlantis. It also introduces kids to the Discovery team and the mission that has just been completed. Kids can go on 5 space “missions” of their own by playing some fun educational games on the site. Games are math and science based and separated into grade level. Grades k-2 can play games appropriate for that age group and grades 3-5 can play at a more difficult level.

How to integrate Buzz Lightyear in Orbit into the classroom:
Use Buzz Lightyear in Orbit as part of your space unit or even as a current events topic. Students can read and learn about the current space missions on the Buzz Lightyear home page. The games are great for reinforcing math and science skills that you are teaching in conjunction with or even separate from the space unit. Your students will love the fun look and feel of this site and especially the familiar Buzz Lightyear character.

Tips: At the bottom of the game screen, you can download worksheets that correspond perfectly with the games and information on the site!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Buzz Lightyear in Orbit in your classroom!

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