In her 5th grade class at Jupiter Elementary, Tonya Doughty has not only worked hard to integrate financial literacy lessons into her curriculum in all subject areas, she earned a grant to develop an original financial literacy board game with her students that will be played throughout the school.
Her inspiration for the board game began with a math club Doughty sponsored at Jupiter called Money Skills for Life. Students in the club learned important financial skills through lessons; activities and Practical Money Skills games; including Financial Football, Financial Soccer and Smart Money Quiz Show. She was impressed by the excitement students had for learning through interactive games like these. Doughty says, "Games nurture a variety of essential skills in the classroom setting. The nature of competition encourages students to work more quickly to find an answer."
Students at Jupiter Elementary have also been involved in a project led by the Kennedy Space Center Federal Credit Union. As part of the project, the credit union operated a branch on campus one day per week and trained students to serve as bank tellers, as well as to open their own accounts and make deposits. As with financial literacy games, Doughty was struck by students' excitement to learn about math and finance through hands-on experience. This realization led her to apply for a grant that would enable her 5th grade class of 10- to 11-year olds to create their own financial literacy board game for students at the school.
When it came to developing their game, Mathematic-Opoly, students did everything from writing the questions and naming the properties, to determining how the game would work and designing the board. They coined fun names for each property; like Mall Madness, Cell Phone Zone, Snack Symposium and Super Sports Resort. When players land on a particular square, they must answer a finance question in order to buy the property or avoid paying rent to the property "owner." Of the game, Doughty says, "We wanted to incorporate how to earn money, spend money, save money and donate money in a responsible way. In addition we included banking, budgeting, and ideas for money management." The goal of the game is to engage kids while teaching them to become wise with their own personal finances in the future.
Doughty and her class completed development of the game during the 2010–2011 school year, and ten copies were created for the school. They will be available in the library for classes, teachers and parents to check out beginning this fall. She and her students are excited to see other classes at Jupiter experience the game. "So far, the feedback has all been positive."
In addition to the Mathematic-Opoly project, Doughty works hard to incorporate financial literacy lessons into her daily curriculum in all subjects. She integrates financial terms like debt, deposit, withdrawal and debit card into her vocabulary lessons. Likewise, she uses finance-related math problems to teach students math and personal finance skills at the same time. Doughty explains, "My first job was as a bank teller, so I have always seen the importance of knowing about money and credit, and how to handle them well."
Between her finance-friendly curriculum and her incredible efforts to develop Mathematic-Opoly with her students, Doughty is making an important impact in students' financial knowledge that will influence their relationships with money in the future. While playing the game, one student remarked, "This is making me think!" Another started saving her money weekly to afford a trip to Sea World so she could swim with dolphins. And yet another remarked, "Now I see the importance of this! I know what my parents were talking about." From helping them develop a board game that will teach other students money skills, to helping foster an interest in meeting their own financial goals, Doughty remains dedicated to fostering her students' interest in learning about money through the hands on activities they love.
Practical Money Skills for Life commends Tonya Doughty for her efforts and commitment to financial literacy at Jupiter Elementary School in Palm Bay, Florida.