Free financial literacy learning tools have multiplied in recent years. But few offer cash rewards for playing. Now, NextGen Personal Finance, a nonprofit dedicated to helping personal finance teachers land their message, is doing just that.
NextGen is the co-creator of Payback, a game that helps families sort through the costs of college. It’s partner in the game is McKinney, the brains behind another acclaimed financial literacy game, Spent.
“With just a limited amount of time—less than an hour including a class discussion—you can hone your students’ decision-making skills and hit the key learning objectives for this important topic,” says NextGen founder Tim Ranzetta.
NextGen, a Right About Money sponsor, recently announced the Payback Challenge with up to $150,000 of prize money for teachers and students. The contest is available in 50 states. The contest deadline is March 23. Winners will be announced in April. Only 2,500 teachers will be allowed to register. Here’s how to enter the essay contest:
Teachers must register here. It will take less than a minute.
Students play Payback. They may do so at home or in class. A single game-play takes 15-20 minutes. Teachers are encouraged to use a full 50-minute period by playing the game twice, leaving some time for discussion too. They may also want use a related classroom activity to reinforce the lessons.
Students write a 250-word essay using this template. The topic: How could you use the online game, Payback, to have a conversation with your parent/guardian about paying for college?
Teacher nominates one essay to be submitted by March 23.Essays will be evaluated by NGPF Staff based on the following criteria: Indicates an understanding of key concepts learned by playing Payback; Addresses concerns parents/guardians may have about this sensitive topic; Takes a creative approach to engaging parents/guardians in a conversation about college.
Essays must be completed by a student currently attending middle or high school. Entries will only be accepted from educators. Essays must be submitted online and must be original and unpublished. Co-authored essays are not accepted.
Ten national grand prizes winners will receive $5,000 each. One hundred-fifty honorable mention winners will receive $500 each. Educators who nominate the Honorable Mention and National Grand Prize Winners will each receive $200 for classroom projects. All educators who nominate a student will be entered into a drawing, where 20 winners will receive $100 each for classroom projects.