June 27, 2011

Biz Kid$- Videos about money and business

One sentence description: A website containing episodes of the show “Biz Kid$” which is about money and business.

Grade: 3-6

Description:  This website if the website for the TV show “Biz Kid$.”  The website contains every episode of the show.  Each episode is split into many segments, allowing only certain segments to be shown instead of the whole episode.  The episodes cover many topics of money and business including what is money, what you do with money, starting a business, credit, marking, etc.  I could not find a way to make the videos larger, which one was weakness of this website.

Additional Features:  There are links to other website which are about money or business.  I will not go into detail here as many of the links will be talked about in separate posts so I can give a better review for each.  There is also a blog.  The blog talks about a variety of topics related to the show including awards won and other facts (for example, how a piggy bank got its name).  “The Vault” is a monthly newsletter with more information, links, stories, activities, etc.

June 26, 2011

Planet Orange- Teaching children about money and money skills (earning, spending, saving, and investing)

One sentence description: Interactive game that teaches children about money and money skills (earning, spending, saving, and investing)

Students become astronauts in this interactive game that teaches them about money.  The Space Station is the students’ home base.  They travel to Planet Orange and at different cities on Planet Orange they learn about different aspects of money. 

Grade: Independently- grades 4-6  (This website contains lesson plans for the earlier grades too.)

Standards: NYS Social Studies Learning Standard 4 (http://www.nysed.gov)

More detailed description:
Space Station
On the space station, students are allowed to create their astronaut.  They can also change the design of the space station.   Almost everything students want to do on the Space Station requires them to use the space money (Obux).  Students have to use it wisely (budget) so they will have enough money to buy gas to travel.  Students can also review their statement where it shows how much they have spent and earned.  They earn money by completing lessons at planets, taking quizzes, and working a job.  Jobs can only be done once every 12 hours.  Some jobs are educational related.  Students can also play games at the arcade.  These games are not educational but for the enjoyment of the students. 

"Planet Orange"
At each planet, students listen to lessons about money and business.  Some lessons have interactive activities.  After students listen to each lesson, they have to take a quiz to receive a badge.  If students answer a question incorrectly, they will not earn the badge.  They will be given two choices; go back to the planet and listen again to the lessons or retake the quiz.  Students have to get every question right (all 5) to earn the badge.  During the lessons, students are able to click on unfamiliar words related to money to get the definition.  Two weaknesses:  Students can click through the lesson before the narrator is done talking thus allowing students to just skip over this part (but students do have to answer all the questions on the quizzes correctly to move on which are based on the lessons).  At the end, when students have earned all four badges, it does not say “congratulations” or anything to let the student know that they have completed the game (after students earn each badge, they do get a certificate which they are able to print out).

Each lesson includes a lot of text, but it is all narrated by the characters.

Additional features:
Teacher can create a free account.  This gives you access to many resources, including lesson plans, activities, and activity books for grades Pre-K to 7th grade.  There are math and ELA activities.  I would encourage you to check out the website to get a better understanding.

There is a parent informational section.  This informs parents about the purpose of the website.  http://www.orangekids.com/parent/