In Financial Algebra classes, Ms. Levesque’s students are using fake money in simulations now so that they can make sound choices with real money in the future.
It’s one of our classes with curriculum that focuses on real-world application, giving students a basic foundation in personal finances.
“The class gives girls the chance to get comfortable with financial terms and strategies,” Ms. Kristina Levesque ’06 said. “Let them fail in these games so they’re a step ahead when real money is involved.”
The class just wrapped up a section about investing. Each class meeting tackled new topics beginning with the article, 25 Things to Know about Investing Before 25. Students were introduced to components like compound interest and diversified assets.
Then, the girls advanced to learn by doing—playing interactive simulations.
The first game tests students in 10 years of the stock market to see if they can pick the correct times to buy and sell in order to beat the market. The game shows how volatile the stock market is and how difficult it is to pick perfect times to invest.
The second simulation, Build Your Stax, challenges students to build their net worth using seven types of investments including savings, index funds, and commodity futures. At the end of the simulation, which mimics 20 years of time, the game reports how well the student’s investments grew compared to the computers. (Students and families should play this 20-minute game together!)
Ms. Levesque said, “At the very least we’re creating financially literate girls. Girls that are not afraid of money and things associated with money. Girls that are brave and feel empowered to do good things with their money and grow it in a way that will help them not be intimidated.”
And students are getting more comfortable and have greater understanding. “I liked playing the Build Your Stax game because it gave me an insight into what investing really is,” said Marlene Serna ’21. “It was fun and very informative. I learned the different types of investments and the pros and cons of each one, which before I could only probably name two types. After this game I feel more confident about managing my future finances than before.”
Ms. Levesque also points out that these online simulations are not meant to be played in isolation. “Please do this with your parents—play this 20 minute game and talk with them about it. Discussions about money aren’t something that should happen on your own.”