It’s important for teachers to introduce their students to financial literacy, the ability to manage one’s income wisely and make intelligent long-term monetary decisions.

Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Utah have laws in place to include a personal economic or financial literacy course at their high schools, but every student in every state could use a few lessons in smart money management. Need some ideas? The activities below are a great place to start.

1. The Stock Market Game

With “game” right in the title, how could students not have fun while learning about financial literacy?

Whether it’s part of math class at a traditional school, part of an after school program, or used in a homeschooling situation, the Stock Market Game introduces students the fundamentals of investing. Each participant is given a hypothetical $100,000 in an online portfolio to invest as they see fit, and their stock values fluctuate based on real-world scenarios. It feels like fun, but they’re really learning financial concepts as well as critical thinking and independent research skills.

2. Budget Challenge

financial literacyHigh school students will be prepared for the real world after practicing with H&R Block’s Budget Challenge. The game simulates a young adult’s financial necessities, including everything from paying bills to investing in retirement. The Budget Challenge even incorporates unexpected scenarios — such as a car accident or lost cell phone — to prepare students for life’s curveballs.

The best part? Students are actually competing for scholarship prizes if they’re able to prove their financial literary! Just register your classes for free and let the learning begin!

3. I Owe You

Teaching students the truth about credit cards will likely save them a lot of trouble in the future.

The New York Times outlines a lesson plan to separate the real deal from the rumors when it comes to those convenient pieces of plastic — and the debt that can accumulate if you don’t use them responsibly.

First, students take a quiz to determine how much they already know about credit cards. Next, they discuss an article about President Barack Obama’s complaints against the industry. Finally, students will gather in groups to complete an online scavenger hunt to learn more about credit cards.

4. Financial Football

financial literacyCalling all sports fans!

This free educational video game and classroom curriculum developed by Visa feels like a video game many football lovers would play in their free time. The catch is that students must answer questions based on financial literacy correctly to allow their team to advance. The tougher the question, the more yards up for grabs.

Student debt continues to grow, so financial literacy is becoming even more essential for students. In 2015, approximately 71 percent of students with bachelor’s degrees were forced to take out a loan to finance their college educations. The average graduate currently owes $35,000 in loans and STEM scholars may accrue even more while pursuing advanced study.

Want to learn more about helping STEM students finance an education? Read about how you can help your students find STEM scholarships.

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