What it is: I learned about Spent from my friend @ianchia last week on Twitter. Spent is a collaboration between McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham to show students how the decisions they make affect their lives. The Urban Ministries of Durham serves over 6,000 people every year. Students have the opportunity to accept the Spent simulation and challenge to see if they can make it through a month of living expenses. They have just lost their job, their savings are gone, they have lost their house, and they are down to their last thousand dollars. Students must find a job, make decisions about housing, food, emergencies, and more as they try to survive one month on minimum wage.
How to integrate Spent into the classroom: Spent is a social justice game simulation that helps students understand the tough circumstances that so many face that have caused them to be homeless and in need of outside assistance. The game uses scenarios that are true to life and shows students how each decision that they make has consequences. Spent would be a great game for students to play in an economics or social studies class. Students can play the game individually and come together at the end of the game to discuss how the decisions they made affected their ultimate outcome. Which students made it to the end of the month and which failed? What decision(s) led to that outcome? If you don’t have the ability for students to play the game individually, play as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. Make decisions together as a class weighing the pros and cons of each decision as you go.
Extend this online game by moving to a place of action. What can your students do to help those in need? Can they hold a school fundraiser to donate to the Urban Ministries of Durham? Can they create compelling call to action videos and post them to YouTube? Let your students be creative and come up with their own solutions for making an impact.
Tips: There are some great ethical scenarios in the simulation that should spark some interesting discussion and debate among students.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Spent in your classroom!