What do eggs, corn and chickens have to do with money?

What do eggs, corn and chickens have to do with money?

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Eddie is a piggy astronaut with the challenging mission to solve financial issues on other planets. This time, his destination is the planet of the chickens where you need to work to improve the egg production, and maintaining the continuity of the species.

Starting with just a chicken, Eddie makes important decisions everyday. Knowing the right time to swap eggs for corns, trade corns for chickens and feed them, or even exchange it for guard dogs to protect chickens from foxes is important. 

Developing a game on financial literacy

This story is part of “Eddie on the Planet of the Chickens”, one of the episodes of the EduCash-program, a pedagogical approach to use games to develop principles of psychology, economics and neuroeconomics with children in a school context. 

Although it seems (and it is!) a very enjoying narrative that attracts children to learn in a playful way, you could ask what those chickens, eggs, and corns have to do with money? In fact, much more than you can imagine. Let me explain how.

Unlike most games on the same topic, which generally feature concrete situations, such as children that make the management of their allowances, we did something different. We give children the experience of problem-based learning situations where the economic phenomena are analogous to those of real life, similar to children’s tales for generations.

Implicitly, the episodes of EduCash involve fundamentals of financial management, such as generation of income, savings, budget, investment, risk and return, time value of money and contingency planning, among various other topics. In other words, what is usually discussed only in adult life, we translate to playful children's stories that allow learning for life. 

There are two other interesting aspects that are worth highlighting. First, by working with metaphors, we do not limit ourselves to the representation of a specific socioeconomic profile in the game which prevents the reinforcement of stereotypes that do not portray the reality of the students.

At the same time, as playing the game requires media literacy, we give the teacher the important role of mediation, and it is their responsibility to help students make the parallels of the activities of the game with the financial situations of the daily life.

Thus, the activity of the game is not the beginning, middle and end of everything but the kick off to a journey that involves self-knowledge, reflection and debates in the classroom, encouraging activities that benefit families and the society.


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What exactly is financial literacy?

We created EduCash to develop the consciousness regarding the scarcity of the economic resources whose value is measured in all trading transactions. It is the opportunity to know the economic behavioral profile of the agent (our pupil in school) that must solve the problem outlined in EduCash.

The basic knowledge on scarcity of resources calls attention to the development of income-saving-investment cycle that allows the children to make decisions to keep or even improve their portfolio (resources) to satisfy needs and wishes. As the decision making competence involves not only cognitive skills, such as the capacity of solving mathematical problems, but also non-cognitive skills, such as empathy, perseverance and creativity, EduCash provides challenges that develop both of them in a very fun and stimulating experience.

It is also important to emphasize that decision-making does not go in the arbitrary or individual matter, since full satisfaction of the agents depends on attending to the others. In other words, it is the market that rules the economic relations in order to achieve a certain balance of productive factors. In EduCash, this purpose appears in the stimulus to the exercise to learn how to make benefits of scale with the efficient distribution of the economic results in the collective dimension that allow greater value and more return to the resources employed during the period of time.

So, as we integrate the GBL (game-based learning) methodology into the learning of today's children who, from the earliest years, develop new skills and competences related to the digital world, fundamentally they achieve not only fun but also basics on entrepreneurial mindset. Children come to schools with a fantastic repertoire, but still little used. Our challenge with EduCash is to give some guidance into pedagogical innovation that will bring about a profound transformation in school education, as has already occurred in other areas of human activities with the arrival of ICT.

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