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New Minecraft program teaching middle schoolers about money

Fintropolis.JPG
Posted at 9:31 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 12:31:36-04

NORFOLK, Va. — Generally speaking, parents try to limit their kids' time on iPads and video screens, but a new computer program may be changing that.

It's called Fintropolis, and it's teaching kids how to be financially responsible.

"Really, the story of how Fintropolis formed starts back in 2019 with our Moguls in the Making Program, which is a business entrepreneurship pitch competition with 50 students from HBCUs," said Kyle Kouchinsky, director of TM Studio at Ally Bank.

From the competition, four students interned at the company Ally, tasked with finding a way to teach middle school students about money.

"They really came up with a way how to teach education in a fun way that students actually like, and they settled on Minecraft as a way to teach that game," Kouchinsky said. "We all know that when we were growing up, it was difficult to learn those concepts, and how much earlier we could learn them, the better off we would be."

Inside the world of Fintropolis, characters guide the player and/or student through the program.

Kouchinsky described a scenario a player would see in the game. He said, "A player walks around a large city and has different tasks they have to do, such as go to city hall and talk to the mayor. The mayor explains what taxes are, about personal tax and income tax, and then the player has to break down and make certain decisions based on that."

The game exercises real-life scenarios like saving, budgeting, building credit, and even identity protection. Kouchinsky said the lessons learned are limitless as later in the game, and you can buy houses, have a mortgage, and participate in the stock market.

Access to Fintropolis is free, and there's an Education Edition so schools and summer camps can use the platform.

Erin Miller at WTKR first reported this story.