The Ottumwa Courier

News in brief

January 31, 2014

Motivation money message in area schools

SOUTHEAST IOWA — "Mad About Money II: Pay Yourself First" returns to Iowa middle schools beginning Monday to help students and their families create effective, lifelong personal money habits.

Sponsored by the Iowa Insurance Division, the multimedia educational program is provided at no cost to participating schools. The entertaining and inspiring program – featuring live, educational theatre performances by professional actors – also includes print and Internet curriculum for use in the classroom and at home.

The winter portion of the tour will travel to schools in counties throughout the state including Appanoose, Jefferson, Keokuk and Wapello counties.

All the characters in "Mad About Money II: Pay Yourself First" are play by two experienced improvisational actors who play eight different characters in the 40-minute program that’s performed for the entire school. Students learn important lessons about their money management and buying habits through four comical and informative sketches, including:

• Wages minus deductions equals take-home pay

• Saving and investing always have some risk involved

• Don’t let advertisers make your decisions for you

• What is “opportunity cost?”

The program is produced by The National Theatre for Children (NTC), and while performances and educational content are completely scripted, the shows themselves are built to incorporate moments of improvisation. At the beginning of each scene, actors solicit information from the audience that is then humorously integrated into the show.

“Using humor to illustrate a particular point about money management is really powerful with this age group,” says Craig Goettsch of the Iowa Insurance Division. “That’s why we keep bringing these NTC programs back year after year. It’s never too soon to begin good money habits, and we want to expose these ideas to as many Iowa students as possible.”

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