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Chocolate Economics & Other Learning Games

Schools are employing games in order to teach real-world concepts.

What blows my mind about STEAM education is that fact that kids are able to grasp concepts that weren’t introduced to me until much later on in my education. Take Chocolate Economics, for example. In Disputanta, Virginia, J.E.J. Moore Middle School, 600 kids from grades Kindergarten to 8th grade were getting involved in concepts through STEAM education.

Chocolate Economics was a way to learn about the history of money and create a mini-economy (based on chocolate, of course) – by having hands on experience, kids were more capable of understanding the nuances of money, and would help them later on if they chose to take economic classes. What’s surprising about this enrichment program? The fact that it’s been offered for the past 30 years. STEAM was introduced largely in 2006, much more recently. So what can we take away from this? Something that educators at J.E.J Moore Middle School have known for years – kids, particularly young kids, learn the best through play. Playing makes the concepts stick, keeps the students engaged, and also adds some excitement to what can sometimes be dreary subjects. By allowing kids the freedom to play in a controlled environment, learning reaches new heights. Much of the early years of a child’s development is learned through play and observation – why change something that nature has said is not broken?

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