CIRANO, a Montreal-based economic think tank, collaborates with universities, corporations, and government bodies to promote financial literacy education. They offer engaging and free resources for teachers, such as FinEcoLab—a platform featuring online games for students from grade 6 to the end of high school. These games provide valuable lessons beyond traditional classroom materials, and the platform includes teacher guides and support for seamless integration into the curriculum. Though some content is currently being translated from French, most resources are available in both English and French. And again, the best news is they are all free!

FinEcoLab’s games cover various concepts, from how markets and pricing work, to individual preferences, choices, and collective decisions. The games help students grasp concepts like supply and demand, economic bubbles, risk, insurance, savings, debt, taxes, “tragedy of the commons”, and more. The interactive nature of the games fosters a deeper understanding of financial concepts, making the lessons more memorable. In Alberta (where I’m from) these games could be used in grade 9 and grade 12 Social Studies units focused on economics, grade 10 sustainable development, and CALM (Career and Life Management). There are also games relating to psychology and philosophy classes that explore how people cooperate, similar to the “prisoner’s dilemma” (there’s a great podcast on this being done in a British game show).

Another valuable tool is the Bourstad Stock Market Simulation, designed for students interested in serious investing. While it comes with a cost, the program provides a realistic experience of managing a portfolio with real-time transactions linked to global securities. Students navigate diverse investment choices, considering their impact on personal finances and emphasizing responsible, sustainable investments.

Teachers have access to a dashboard to monitor student progress and receive assessments on various categories, streamlining the evaluation process. The program offers a national challenge with substantial prizes, encouraging healthy competition and engagement. Specific prizes are available for women participants, sustainable investing, and schools with over 20 participants.

The Bourstad program extends support to university and high school participants, each with its own competition. While there’s a registration cost, the potential benefits, including cash prizes, make it a compelling option for schools.

To delve deeper into these resources, you can watch the Zoom presentation on our SSENC YouTube channel or download slides with helpful links from the presentation.