With the help of many community volunteers manning 14 business booths, Washington County Career Center youth recently participated in a Real Money Real World simulation. Students chose careers for the simulation based on their current field of study at WCCC. They also used their monthly salary to visit various booths, hoping that they would have enough money to live on at the end of the month, making spending choices according to their family situation.
The program includes four classroom lessons to prepare students to assume the role of a 27-year-old adult who is the primary breadwinner of a family. Students learned how to subtract savings, taxes, and other deductions from their monthly income. The remaining amount of money is what they spent during the simulation activity.
Students spent their money on items typically found in monthly budgets, including housing, utilities, groceries, insurance, child care and transportation, in cabins staffed by community volunteers. Throughout the activity, students tracked their finances and tried to complete the simulation with a positive balance.
The program is a product of OSU Extension and was organized for the school by 4-H Extension Trainer Bruce Zimmer in collaboration with WCCC teachers Mrs. Webb and Mr. Ritzman.
During the post-simulation class, students reflected on their experience and learning by completing a self-assessment. The students thoroughly enjoyed their experience, but were shocked at how difficult it was to meet a monthly budget. Many paid respect to their parents and their daily activities. Student comments at the end of the experiment, “Children are expensive” “The cost of living is expensive” “Credit can be good or bad” and “Everything is costing more than expected.”
Teachers can learn more about the Real Money, Real World offering at their high school by contacting OSU Extension at 740-376-7431 or by emailing [email protected]