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Creating a theme park on the moon

Posted to Money Week Education on 07-09-2016

A group of students from Auckland discovered that learning about financial capability is a lot more fun than it sounds, after they were given the challenge of creating a theme park on the moon.

With a budget of half a million dollars, the students at Target Road School had to decide what rides and other facilities they would offer and what admission fees they would charge to run the lunar park at a profit.

Now their work, lesson plans, stories and templates, as well as those of eight other Auckland schools, is being provided to teachers throughout the country with the aim of inspiring more schools to include financial capability in the classroom.

Money Week has been chosen to launch the material on the Ministry of Education’s TKI website for teachers to use or adapt:

The Commission for Financial Capability’s education manager Angela Clemens said: “You don’t have to be a financial expert or have a degree in accounting to teach this. It’s about providing opportunities for students to think about financial issues in a way that is meaningful to them.

“We’ve shared the material to help all teachers build a stronger focus on financial capability because we see it as an essential skill for everyone to leave school with.”

The Commission set up the Upper Harbour Sorted Schools pilot with a cluster of nine schools that worked together to embed financial capability across the curriculum.

The aim was to involve the entire school: teachers, students and the surrounding community.

Students at Takapuna Grammar got into groups of four and imagined they were flatting together.

“We went through everything from tenancy agreements to budgeting for meals. One thing we enjoyed was grocery shopping. From a simple activity we learnt how to budget our money and how to spend our money wisely between our needs and our wants."

The new section on the website contains advice from participating teachers on how to weave financial capability across the curriculum successfully, including:

  • Try to integrate financial capability across as many learning areas as you can.
  • Teacher's enthusiasm is the key to success.
  • Make lessons fun, hands-on, and real to life.
  • Keep the programme alive with plenty of inspiring and lively discussions.
  • Start small – if it can't be a whole school focus, try rolling it out class by class.
  • Hold regular staff meetings to encourage teacher reflection and involvement.
  • Collaborative planning keeps the task easier for everyone.
  • Working with a cluster of schools helps with ongoing support and ideas.
  • View financial capability as a context for learning areas, not an additional subject.

The Commission’s Money Week website also has activities and resources for teachers: and  

Next: Little Black Book a first in the fight against scams

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