Draven Byrkett is learning life can be tough when it comes to banking.
“As far as I knew, a bank was something you put your money in and you saved it,” the Crawfordsville eighth grader said.
Draven and his classmates are practicing managing debt and balancing a checkbook through Banzai, an online program that uses real-world situations to teach financial literacy in classrooms.
The program is a way to give students the basics of money before they’re ready to start a summer job.
“So regardless of where they end up in their personal life… from a financial standpoint these are all things that every student’s going to encounter, so we just want to try to prepare them the best we can for as many of those scenarios and situations as possible,” said Crawfordsville Middle School business teacher Steve Rogers, who is using the program in his Introduction to Business Technology course.
During a recent class, Rogers showed students a sample W-2 form. The program led students step-by-step through plugging in numbers for a simulated unmarried coach.
Still a few years away from driving, the students are also learning how to save money on car maintenance.
The program aligns with state curriculum standards on personal finance education, which requires students be able to develop financial goals and budgets for managing money.
Banzai partners with banks and credit unions across the country to make the software free for classrooms.
Hoosier Heartland State Bank is sponsoring the program for CMS and North Putnam Middle Schools.