February 26, 2014 - "Are You Financially Smarter than a 5th Grader?" The answer is "no" for the parents of Jacqueline Wiscomb's fifth-graders.
Parent Mark Mulholland (above) contemplates a question, while Clear Lake fifth-graders Hunter Drake and Linus Schneider (right) await his answer. (click for larger version)
Wiscomb's fifth-grade students were part of a 12 week lesson plan, in which Oxford High School Seniors Maddy Barsanti and Samantha Medici taught the students about financial literacy as a part of the girl's DECA Project.
"Our whole goal (of the project) was to present financial literacy to the community and to the students, so we did elementary level and high school level," Barsanti said. "For the elementary students we taught them 12 weeks of lessons and went over savings, spending, earnings and making smart decisions."
(click for larger version)
"The kids enjoyed every time the girls would come in, about twice a week. They really looked forward to seeing them. It was a nice change of pace (and) the kids really did learn a lot," Wiscomb said. "The kids talked about starting up their own businesses, whether it was a lemonade stand, making bracelets or what have you. They were thinking about ways to make money and to save."
As a way to teach the students about savings, Wiscomb would hand out fake money if the students were good. So, when Barsanti and Medici would come to class the students could either spend their money to buy something small or choose to "save it in the bank" and buy a bigger better item at the end of the project.
"It was a good learning process for the kids," noted Wiscomb. "They really had to think about their choices and decide what they wanted to do."
As a way to test what the students knew and to show the parents what they had learned, the 12 week lessons were concluded on Feb. 5 in game show style with parents battling their students in "Are you Financially Smarter than a 5th Grader?"
"The students were so excited. We had two separate podiums and one parent versus two students. They would have to ring the bell to answer the questions," Barsanti explained. "The kids rang the bell so fast they knew all the questions. They won by like a 1,000 points. It was awesome."
Medici agreed. "Every time they would come up to the stand, Mrs. Wiscombe would start reading the questions and you would hear a bell and the kids would already know the answer," she added. "The parents were really taken off guard because they thought they had it in the bag."
"It was really a fun, culminating event with the parents coming in and the kids competing against them," Wiscomb said. "It was a lot of fun."
What did the students learn?
"We learned about money and how you're supposed to spend your money," said Abby Walters. "A lot of people think 'oh I am just going to buy this because I can buy this,' but they don't know that you got to save your money to make smarter choices and stuff."
Nick Souckp agreed.
"If you (want to) buy a different car then you got to get a better paying job so you can save money for the future," he said.
Souckp also said he not only learned how to save money, but also learned which presidents are on which dollar bills. He also enjoyed the playing the game against the parents. "I liked it because we got to go against smarter people," he added.
Medici said it was "very rewarding" to see how far the kids had come at the end of the 12 weeks and they were amazed at how fast the kids learned.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.