School Trek Trip Game

Topic: Making choices, saving, planning ahead, opportunity costs

Original Source: (Note: This web site is no longer functioning, but we have created a Board Game version of the game.)

Recommended Age: 1st-4th grade

Length of Game: 15-25 minutes

How to Use This Game:

This game can be used as a stand-alone activity, but is most useful as part of the lesson on Choices and Opportunity Costs (or played some time after that lesson has been taught).

What Will the Students Learn?

  • This game will re-enforce any principles about decision-making and opportunity costs that the kids are learning in their classroom time.
  • Kids will get a chance to think about their spending choices and the advantages and disadvantages of spending on different items, especially in light of the overall goal of saving a sufficient amount of earnings over the course of 6 weeks to attend a class trip.

Pre-Game Preparation:

1. To make the board game, you will need to download and print out the following files:

2. You will need a pair of dice and some kind of player game pieces/tokens for each player.

How to Play:

In this game, which is best done with 3-4 players, each player will take turns rolling the dice and moving around the game board. Each trip around the game board represents one week. Each week, the students will receive a $10 salary. Throughout the game, they will be confronted with situations in which they will win or lose money and also with options to spend money on various weekend activities. The object of the game is to save sufficient funds for the School Trip, which costs $50, by the end of their sixth trip around the game board.

1. Hand out a Cash Book and a pencil to each player. Students will record their earnings and expenditures on this paper, keeping a running tab of the amount of cash they have. Everyone begins the game with a $10 balance in his/her Cash Book (the first week’s salary). This should be listed in the “Money In” column of the Cash Book and in the top square of the “Balance” column.

2. Shuffle the Win/Lose Money Cards and the Weekend Activity Cards and place them in a stack face down on the appropriate space on the game board. Also place several of the Voucher Cards on their appropriate square on the game board.

3. Before play begins, give 2 voucher cards to each player. A Voucher is sort of like a “pass” – a player can use a voucher to pay for certain expenses. For example, a player may land on a square and pick up a Win/Lose Money Card that says he broke a friend’s toy and it will cost $15 to replace it. The player can either deduct $15 from his Cash Book (recorded in the “Money Out” column) OR they can “pay” that $15 with a voucher. When a voucher is used, the player places it on the stack of voucher cards in the center of the game board. (I.e., they cannot keep that particular voucher and use it again.)

4. Each player will take a turn rolling the dice. Starting from the red pay day square, they should move their game piece/token the appropriate number of squares. If they land on a LIGHT BLUE square, nothing happens and the next player takes her turn. If a player lands on a GREEN square, then select the top card from the Earn Money/Lose Money stack of cards. They read what the card says and then record that transaction in their Cash Book. With some cards, they will gain money – such as “Grandma Sends You $5 for your Birthday” – or lose money, such as “You lost a library book and have to spend $5 to replace it.” If it’s a gain, they will write the amount down in the “Money In” column of the Cash Book and adjust their Balance accordingly. If they have to spend money, they have two options. They can pay cash (and record the amount in the “Money Out” column and subtract it from their running balance) or they can choose to “pay” with a voucher. (Hint: it is best to save vouchers for the most expensive expenses.) If the player lands on a NAVY BLUE square, he/she will select the top card from the stack of Weekend Activity Choice Cards. The student will read the card aloud and then make a decision. Each card invites the player to spend money on some fun activity – such as going shopping or to the movies—and notes the price of the activity. If the player decides to spend money on the activity, he/she will record that expense in the Cash Book in the “Money Out” column. Additionally, the player who purchases an activity has a chance to win a voucher. The player will roll the dice again, and if it comes up an even number, they win one voucher; if it comes up an odd number, they do not win a voucher. After that, the next player will take his turn.

5. Each time players go by the red “Pay Day” square, they should record a $10 income (“Money In”) in their Cash Books.

6. Throughout the game, the players should keep a running tab in their Cash Book as to their cash balance. You may want to provide calculators for your youngest students if the math is too difficult for them. They should record their ongoing balance in the “Balance” column of the Cash Book.

7. A player completes the game when she has circled around the game board 6 times. At that point, she should check her cash balance in the Cash Book. If she has saved $50, she gets to go on the class trip.

8. The game is completed when each player has completed 6 trips around the board.

9. You may want to provide a sticker or paper certificate to each player who accomplishes the objective of saving enough money for the school trip.