Utah State University: An innovative peer teaching program makes financial education fun for kids
Amanda Christensen wanted to develop a scalable peer teaching financial literacy program that was fun but also easy enough for kids to teach other kids how to use. An extension assistant professor with Utah State University, Christensen and her colleagues created the award-winning Utah 4-H & Fidelity Investments Money Mentors Program, a peer-to-peer financial education curriculum for high school and junior high school students. The team uses Money Habitudes to help bring the “fun” and “easy” to the program.
Incorporating Money Habitudes into the Money Mentors Program helped:
- Support the organization’s “train-the-trainer” and peer education model. Fidelity volunteers are trained on the financial education curriculum, and the volunteers in turn teach that same material to high-school-aged kids. Bringing the model full circle, high school kids return to their counties throughout the state and teach the curriculum to middle-school-aged kids.
- Attract more involvement: teens participating in the program go back to their communities with at least 15 younger students on the 6-hour program over the next year in schools, camps or after-school programs like 4-H.
- Expand financial education throughout the community, as one team of high school students will teach dozens of other students. And, as younger students are taught finances, the older students continuously learn the material by teaching it, a common 4-H practice.
- Students understand their financial habits and attitudes in a fun, hands-on tone for the rest of the class, while opening up dialogue about money in an easy way.
How They Use Money Habitudes
- High school students teach in a “TRY Team.” (Teens Reaching Youth), with 2-4 teens and an adult coach who is usually a local 4-H educator or teacher.
- Training for students happens over one weekend: students get one day of training on how to teach (classroom management, etc.) and one day of training on the Money Mentors Curriculum.
- The financial training is six lessons, with the first lesson using Money Habitudes cards (20-30 minutes).
- Before sorting the cards, students fill out a brief money values worksheet. After the activity they get a fake $100 bill and then label how they’d spend the money (perhaps breaking it up into $50, $30 and $20 sub-sections) based on their Money Habitudes.