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MinyanLand: A virtual world for economics and finance

What it is: I love virtual worlds that go beyond just play and incorporate learning opportunities.  MinyanLand is a virtual world where students get to play games and make friends while they learn about earning, saving, spending and giving.  Best of all, it is free to use!  Students begin their time in MinyanLand with $50,000 in MinyanMoney and a condo.  They can visit the ATM in the MinyanLand bank to invest their money.  Each time students visit, they can check to see if their balance has gone up or down.  Students can earn more MinyanMoney by playing fun games, or doing real life chores or classroom jobs to collect a virtual allowance.   Students can  use their MinyanMoney to buy things for their home, add rooms, and move into a new neighborhood. MinyanLand has it’s own newspaper called the MinyanLand Journal, it will keep students up-to-date with what is new every day.  Students can play games where they practice their math skills and test their knowledge about money.  Games include a Lemonade Stand, Guitar Mayhem, Paper Route, Concentration, Balloon Quiz, Fill in the Face, Fill in the Name, Catch the Money, Word Search, Money Sorter, Cluedoku, Boo Blvd., Where Did You Get That Money?, and Quiz Boxes.  Students will need to keep their virtual character healthy by fueling up at Ollie’s Diner. The characters in MinyanLand are fun and varied, there is Hoofy the Bull, president of the bank; Boo the Bear, a retired dot-com millionaire; Daisy the cow, executive producer of MinyanLand’s TV station; Cassidy the Bear, a school teacher; Sammy the Snake, an administrator in City Hall; and Snapper the Turtle, the go-to guy in town. MinyanLand is a fun way for students to learn about and interact with economic and financial concepts.  The economic system in MinyanLand can even take advantage of real-life pricing of general goods and services.  Students are encouraged to charitably give within MinyanLand.  The idea is to offer every child the opportunity and platform to be financially literate.   MinyanLand is ideal for students in 3rd-5th grade but younger students would enjoy it as well. How to integrate MinyanLand into the classroom: MinyanLand is such a fun way to work toward financial literacy in the classroom.  It offers students a virtual economy where they can practice real-world skills of buying, earning, investing, and giving.  I love the way that MinyanLand ties the real world to the virtual by allowing students to earn virtual MinyanMoney for real chores and jobs. Registering is free and easy enough for young students to register themselves.  A parent or teacher email address is optional for registration.  If students include a parent or teacher email address, they can earn MinyanMoney for chores or jobs that you assign. MinyanLand is one of those sites that would be great as a year-long project.  Students can visit MinyanLand throughout the year in the classroom (and at home) to learn about money, investing, spending, earning, and the economy.  It is a natural fit in the math classroom where students are already working with money and numbers.  MinyanLand would be best in a lab setting where each student has access to a computer.  If you don’t have a lab for students, use classroom computers as a learning center.  Students can visit the center throughout the week to interact in MinyanLand. Tips: Even if you don’t want to use the virtual money in class, consider letting parents know about the opportunity to tie household chores to learning.  Students can play in class and earn virtual money at home. Please leave a comment and share how you are using MinyanLand in your classroom!

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Password Bird

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Fun & Games, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 30-01-2009

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What it is: Password Bird is an extremelly simple website, but one that I love to use with my elementary students.  Password Bird helps students create a password using a few easy to answer questions.  Students enter a name that is special to them, a word that is special to them, and date that is special to them.  Password Bird takes these and turns it into a randomly generated password.  The ideas is that the password generated will be something easy for students to remember but hard for others to guess.

 

How to integrate Password Bird into the classroom:  In my computer classroom I hear the words “I don’t know what my password should be” a lot.  Password Bird is the perfect place to send these kids.  It helps them create a password quickly that should be fairly easy for them to remember.   Sometimes Password Bird generates great passwords, and sometimes the passwords are not as strong.  I have used Password Bird to generate passwords that we then dissect and decide if it is a strong password or not.  

 

Tips:  Not every password generated on Password Bird will be a strong password, usually this is due to the words that the students chose that make it a weak password.  Use the opportunity to discuss what makes it a particularly strong or weak password. 

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Password Bird in your classroom.

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