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Pros: Flashy and fun game is sure to engage football fans.
Cons: Lessons do the teaching; the game only tests understanding.
Bottom Line: Solid financial literacy lessons with a fun football-themed reinforcement.
Meant to reinforce the information kids learn from the related lessons, Financial Football works best as a culminating activity. That said, you could have students play multiple times with different challengers or at different levels to bolster learning and measure progress. Kids could also keep track of the questions they got wrong, and then you can go over those with the whole group outside of the game. Because games are playable in as little as 5 min or up to 30 minutes, there's enough flexibility to fit into any lesson plan.
The whole class can get involved: Two students or teams can share a device and play head to head. Although teachers can't automatically view scores and questions, students have an opportunity to share their results via email. Those stats include percentage correct and best category, along with total yardage. As incentive, you can post the total yards gained by the whole class as they work towards a class goal!
Financial Football is a free financial literacy program that stands alone and is also part of the larger Practical Money Skills site. There are printable lessons paired with an online football game. Choose the Rookie level for 6th and 7th graders, the Pros for 8th through 12th grade, or the Hall of Fame for students who need extra challenge. All three levels cover the same material, in both English and Spanish using the embedded Google Translate, and vary instruction a bit to cater to the three different levels of knowledge. Moving through the seven lessons, the program teaches students that every play counts when it comes to budgeting and saving, how to avoid fumbles by handling debt and credit, and even how best to plan routes for life events.
All this practice prepares students for the big game! The game is on the web or downloaded to Mac, iOS, or Windows devices. Pick a level and which NFL teams will go head to head. Use strategy to pick the right play and then answer true/false or multiple choice questions about the financial lessons. Correct answers move your team down the field. Do well and earn power ups like hints, a blitz, and audibles where a wrong answer can be changed immediately. The more you know, the more yards you can gain, but wrong answers could result in lost yards, sacks, or even fumbles. When the game is over, students are invited to share the results on social media or via email.
The lesson plans that accompany Financial Football couldn't be any easier to follow: Student materials, including pre and post-tests, are ready to go. Lessons are even scripted for any teacher who might not be an expert themselves and resource links are provided to streamline some of the research activities. With creative activities, like making a movie trailer about a victim of identify theft, add potential engagement and student agency. Ultimately, these PDF lessons are where the real learning happens.
The game itself is the the potential incentive for getting through the material. While that might help you get through the lessons, there's no guarantee that the game will urge kids to truly learn the material unless teachers attach some other kind of importance to it. Since questions during game play could come from any of the seven lessons, it's difficult to use the game along the way, which would be a great addition to add to its flexibility. And though the football game is well-designed and fun, it isn't linked at all to the information aside from an extended metaphor in the "Getting Game-Ready" section of the lesson plans. Simple true/false and multiple choice responses limit the level of questions to recall, classification, and identification, so there's no real critical thinking happening within the game; the lessons do offer some of those opportunities, however. That said, for teachers who are looking to cover financial literacy concepts with some solid, well-thought out lessons and then get a fun, football-themed formative assessment to finish it off, this free resource is a touchdown.