Creative “zombie” game challenges kids’ mental math skills

Co-op Services Credit Union hosts fun event at local libraries
LIVONIA, MI (April 28, 2014) — Is saving money more difficult than surviving a zombie attack?  That’s the question posed to kids, with ages ranging from 5 to 12 years, who participated in financial education workshops presented by Co-op Services Credit Union at the Livonia Civic Center Library and Allen Park Public Library.

The workshops were held in early April in celebration of Credit Union Youth Week which coincides with Money Smart Week, a nationwide effort to spread financial education to youth.  The goal of Money Smart Week is to get kids excited about how they can take control of their finances at an early age.

“The subject of money and finances isn’t always exciting, so we decided to incorporate money and mental math into a game that kids could relate to,” said Jeremy Cybulski, Co-op Services Credit Union’s youth and community development coordinator. “We invited children and their parents to a ‘zombie apocalypse’.”

At each event, youth in attendance were divided into two teams to answer mental math questions.  The teams were first advised that they would need to gather and purchase supplies like ration packs, flashlights, batteries, and other items from a fictional trading post to prepare for an impending zombie attack.  Each team was assigned a captain, treasurer and inventory specialist, and all team members were included in purchasing decisions.

Teams competed as individual team members earned money to purchase these items by answering math questions. Dollar values were based on the difficulty of each question.  Individuals from each team, who were the first to raise their hand and respond correctly, won the dollar value of the question. This allowed them to shop, save their money or make a larger purchase later.

“We carried the zombie theme throughout the event, including prizes and snacks for everyone who attended,” added Cybulski. “One of our staff even brought his own Zombie Response Truck—complete with bio hazard decals, green-lit interior and a net for catching zombies. The truck was a great hit with kids who wanted their pictures taken with it.”

“The credit union’s ‘How to Survive a Zombie Attack’ program was creative, innovative and interactive.  The kids were involved from the very beginning and learned that you do, in fact, use math in everyday life,” said Karen M. Smith, Head of Children’s Services for Livonia Public Library.  “I would gladly host this program again in the future!”

Cybulski reported that the first two workshops were so well attended that some youth had to be assigned to a waiting list for a third and final event to be held on May 1 at the Allen Park Public Library.

Headquartered in Livonia, Co-op Services Credit Union has more than 51,000 members and maintains eight full-service branch offices in the Detroit metro area.  Rivers Edge Financial, which is headquartered in Allen Park and has branches in the Downriver area, became a division of Co-op Services Credit Union on January 1, 2014.  Members have access to more than 3,000 shared branches and 28,000 ATMs nationwide.

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