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This week, Young Americans is shining a spotlight on a long-time supporter of Young AmeriTowne that powers hands-on learning: Xcel Energy Foundation. Thanks to Xcel Energy Foundation, students gain real-world experience in math and business while they run their own town for a day.
Numerous studies demonstrate the effectiveness of experiential education in teaching financial education. Researches have found that experiential learning as a “far more powerful way to gain functional skills” in personal finance than traditional classroom settings. For low-income students, among the groups that score the lowest on financial literacy tests and math proficiency, this learning style is especially effective. The National Dropout Prevention Center reports “numerous research studies have shown the value of active learning, particularly in improving the achievement level of the lowest-performing students and minorities.”
In Young AmeriTowne, students practice math while developing personal finance and business skills. For example, each student uses a checkbook register to record deposits and purchases throughout the day. She has two goals: 1) to keep track of her expenditures so that she doesn’t overdraw her AmeriTowne checking account, and 2) for her register to match her checking account statement sent from the bank.
Young AmeriTowne’s unique learn-by-doing approach is popular with teachers and students. “I take all the lower math group,” reports Deb McGarvey an AmeriTowne teacher in a low-income school, “Hands-on activities are the easiest way for them to learn concepts. Where else in their education will they ever learn this?” After attending Young AmeriTowne, 5th grader Karah writes, “I know how to budget money, write checks, and how to be responsible with money. This was really fun and it’ll help me in the future!”
Xcel Energy and Xcel Energy Foundation have supported hands-on learning for nearly two decades. As a result of this partnership, more than 358,731 young people have gained the real-world learning and experience they need to be financially successful adults.