Teachers can best use this game as a way to apply -- rather than learn anew -- lessons on money management skills, banking, taxes, employment, interest rates, and bank accounts. Since students will likely be toying with some concepts but not quite nailing them down or reflecting on them, design some curricular wraparound that gets them to do so. Facilitate discussions after each session that get students to share tips about what works and what doesn't, drawing on their excitement for talking about play and then using these andecdotes to illuminate and define some best practices for money management.Continue reading Show less
International Racing Squirrels is a point-and-click financial management sim rather than a more familiar third- or first-person racing game. Students need to watch their financial bottom lines as they try to grow and pay for their teams by applying for savings accounts and credit cards, comparing interest rates, and managing the funds between the accounts. There's a ton of features (maybe even too many) that drill down into the details of money management. Racers' rents, salaries, and training must all be budgeted. At every turn, students must make critical decisions that test their thinking skills while also forcing them to exercise sound financial judgment, weighing the risks of paying more for bonuses and entrance fees, for instance, in return for a chance at big profits.
With no help other than brief textual instructions, students will be thrown right into the thick of it. There's a ton to experiment with and explore, but it's easy to feel overwhelmed, and it's also easy to get distracted from the important lessons of money management in favor of reckless play. The beginning of the game also feels ill paced, taking awhile to ramp up. A more well scaffolded and quicker-paced introductory tutorial could be a huge improvement. There's definitely some good learning to be had about very practical issues that all students will face, but there's a concern that only diligent students who pay close attention will get enough out of it to make it worthwhile in a classroom.
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