Video game teaches finances through football
"Financial Football," a new video game that will soon be available in all Washington middle and high schools, teaches students about financial management through NFL football.
Seattle Times education reporter
A question flashed in bold letters on the screen: "What is a long-term U.S. Treasury note?"
Hung Nguyen, a junior at Rainier Beach High School, looked across the school library, waiting to hear a response from his opponents — a team coached by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. When his classmates answered incorrectly, Nguyen jumped out of his seat.
"Yes!" Nguyen exclaimed, throwing both arms into the air before turning to give a high-five to the student sitting next to him.
The Dallas Cowboys had just beaten the Seahawks, 8-0.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Nguyen and 40 other Rainier Beach students spent part of their Tuesday morning playing a new financial-literacy video game that soon will be available in every middle and high school in the state.
"Financial Football" teaches students about concepts like budgeting and identity theft by asking questions that affect the outcome of an NFL football game. If a player gets a question right, his or her team gains yards; if not, it could lose yards.
The game, which comes with a classroom curriculum, is a product of a partnership between Visa Inc. and the Jump$tart Washington Coalition, a nonprofit focused on promoting financial literacy. The state is receiving copies of the game for free.
"It's really important that students learn early what to do with money and managing it," state Treasurer James McIntire said. "It's important that they start out on the right foot and not get in a financial hole."
Basic financial principles are not significantly represented in Washington's state curriculum, said McIntire, adding that he hopes the state makes that a priority in the future.
McIntire went to Rainier Beach on Tuesday to coach the group of students representing the Cowboys. His Cowboys and Jackson's Seahawks sparred for 20 minutes on questions about compound interest, credit scores and debit-card rewards programs. While the Cowboys pulled out the win with a late touchdown and 2-point conversion, Jackson said his team was at a disadvantage.
"Going up against the state treasurer — our chance of winning was kind of slim," he said after the loss.
Jackson said it was important to him to participate in the event because of his own experiences .
"I've had some times when I felt I could've done a better job of managing my money," he said. "You want to make all the money, but you're not thinking about ways to save it, and that's important, too."
The Seahawks quarterback added he was happy to see how into it the students got.
As for the students themselves, they said they had a good time and learned a bit, too.
"I'm going to go home and learn a little more about finances, how to control my money," Nguyen said. "It's important."
Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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