Students learn about ‘real-world’ budgeting in The Game of LIFE

CHESTERTOWN — For decades The Game of LIFE board game has been a fun way to learn about the challenges of managing a household budget.

On May 17, Kent County Middle School eighth graders got a taste of real-world family budgeting through an activity based on the classic game.

Tables were set up around the gym, each one a different station for students that tied into the morning’s overarching lesson in financial literacy.

This is the second year that teacher Cheryl Fracassi has led The Game of LIFE here at the middle school, after having modeled it off a similar program at another school system.

Fracassi said The Game of LIFE provides an amazing opportunity for the school’s eighth-grade students to experience making adult financial decisions in a safe learning environment.

“It’s lots of fun walking around the event and hearing the students’ comments about having too many children, not going on vacation or needing to earn money to fit their chosen lifestyle,” she said. “I love that they walk away having a new perspective.”

The tables represented many different items in and influencers of a household budget, including credit score, income, utility bills, health insurance, student loans and car insurance.

Students moved around each of the tables building their budgets, while incorporating unexpected expenses like medical bills along the way.

They learned about balancing car payments versus vacation dreams, internet and cable bills versus student loan debt.

Middle school teacher Christine Clark was selling cars from her Clark’s Clunkers table. Likewise Sara Moore was offering cellphone plans at her Moore’s Mobile table.

Community volunteers joined The Game of LIFE at the middle school to explain expenses such as mortgages, utility rates and student loans.

Aundra Anderson and her Next Generation Scholars students from Kent County High School also volunteered.

“The event was truly fantastic,” said Principal Mark Buckel. “It was a lot of fun and I know the students enjoyed it while learning a few things along the way.”

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