Lesson 2: Introducing Stash101 & Defining Financial Literacy
Secondary, Unit 1: Stash101 Rollout, Lesson 2
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Stash101 Introduction

Lesson 2: Introducing Stash101 & Defining Financial Literacy

Learning Objective:

Students will be able to define financial literacy and understand how Stash101 will function in the classroom.

Jump$tart Standard: Saving:

8-2d. Discuss how savings decisions can affect financial wellbeing.
12-8b. Discuss how personal financial decisions can affect other people.

SEL Competency: Responsible decision-making


  • Hang chart paper around the room with the title “Financial Literacy” and number the paper 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.—or tape playing cards to the paper as suggested under “Define Financial Literacy.”
  • Read through the lesson plan.
  • Have sticky notes or index cards ready.
  • Set up your Stash101 account and make sure it’s ready for students to log in and create their accounts. Make sure your jobs, bills, assets, and action items are up to date and ready.

Establish Group Norms (5–10 min)

Ask: Take a moment and think about this: what are some traits of successful group work? 

Think. Pair. Share. (Give students think time. Pair with someone sitting next to them. Have the whole group share out.)

Possible answers: 

    • Know when to step forward and when to step back
    • Listen with your body (eyes on speaker, voice off, body facing speaker)
    • Participate
    • Respect everyone’s ideas
    • Stay on topic
    • Ask clarifying questions
    • Use your time wisely

Add any other norms you would like to see groups show while working together. Keep norms visible during the rest of the lesson.

Say: In this classroom, we are going to be learning about real life and preparing for it. Instead of making silly money mistakes as adults and potentially wasting years trying to right the wrongs, we are going to learn about money here, experience it, make mistakes, and hopefully develop a toolkit full of resources for when you go into the real world. (Consider inserting a personal money story about how you wish you had taken a course like this and what you learned about money the hard way!)

That being said, let’s try to follow these norms that we have set out and circle back to them if we ever get off track. 

Define Financial Literacy (15 min)

(Break students into groups of 3 or 4. I like to have students pick from a pre-sorted stack of playing cards (with the same number of cards as students). That way, students will wind up in random groups. Include 3 aces, twos, threes, and so on. If you use this approach, tape the extra ace, two, three, etc. to different sections of the chart paper in advance. Then direct the groups to stand by the section of chart paper with their card.)

Say: What do you already know about financial literacy? What is it? What does it encompass? If you have never heard of financial literacy, using context clues, what do you think it means? Discuss it with your group. Make sure everyone contributes, and think about the norms we established a moment ago. Then, using words and images, brain dump your thoughts onto the chart paper. Make sure that you explain any pictures you draw. You have 5 minutes.  Any questions? Go! 

Once everyone looks like they are done, have one student collect the markers or writing utensils so no one continues working during share-out time. Give students ten seconds to decide who will present their group’s ideas. If none of them want to, I suggest using rock, paper, scissors. Have students return to their seats or go around to each group’s section as the groups share out. Review what good listening skills look like: no side conversations, eyes and ears on the speaker, voices off, bodies facing the presenter, etc. 

As groups share out their ideas, I recommend circling accurate sections that you want to touch on later—but for now, don’t say if students are right or wrong on any of their ideas. Just get an idea of where they are with their understanding of financial literacy, and celebrate students who present.

Teacher Hack: Two Claps on Two. One. Two. *clap *clap. 

When students are done presenting, acknowledge and celebrate them by saying, “Two claps on two. One. Two.” And then, clap twice. Practice a few times if need be to make sure everyone is following procedure. Claps shouldn’t be too long or short, and there should be no more than two. Practice until everyone does it—and does it right. It’s a quick way to acknowledge your students for stepping up.


Say: Financial literacy is the ability to understand, manage, and invest money. It is also all of the things that I circled. 

Say: Throughout this class, you are going to learn what financial literacy is and how to be make good financial decisions. One way we will be learning about financial literacy is through a software platform called Stash101. This is a virtual online banking system where you will manage a checking, savings, and credit card account. You will be able to invest your virtual money, pay bills, and earn and lose money throughout our time together.

Explore Stash101 (10–15 min)

Have students get out their computers and review computer norms if you need to. 

Teacher Hack:  

When using Chromebooks or laptops, have students put their computer screens at 45-degree angles when you need all attention on you for instructions. Say the names of students who have their computers at 45 degrees, and wait for students who do not. When you have 100 percent of your students’ eyes on you, then continue. 


Direct students to the login screen of Stash101.

Say: Here is Stash101. You will all go in and create your accounts today, but first I want to show you the site. Put your computers at 45 degrees. 

Log in and show students key features.

Economy > Jobs. Each student will apply for a job. You will do your job on a daily basis—or whenever it is required—and get automatically paid for it.

Economy > Action Items. You will be able to add action items. These are deposits or withdrawals that you add to your account on a daily basis. (Don’t take a lot of time explaining what these things mean; students will experience them and pick up on the language.) You will be able to apply positive action items—deposits—if you follow school norms, show up on time, etc. You will have to apply negative action items—withdrawals—if you do not follow school norms or are disrespectful, get sent to the office, etc.

Students > News Log. You will be able to see what has been deposited or withdrawn from all student accounts each day to keep each other honest.

Students > Leaderboard. Here you will see who has the most “net worth”—in other words, who has the most money in their bank accounts. It gets pretty competitive!

Economy > Bills. You will be assigned bills to pay each month, such as rent and the water bill. If you would like to purchase your desk, you can save up your money and pay a one-time fee to “buy” it. Then you will no longer have to pay rent each month.

Economy > Assets. You can purchase your desk, an item that has value—in other words, an asset—and watch your money grow, or you can pay rent each month.

Investments > Simulator Preview. You will be investing virtual money in the stock market and cryptocurrencies when we get to the investing and insuring unit. 

 Ask: Any questions so far?

Say: Go to www.Stash101.com and click on “Create your free account.” Then click on “I’m a Student.” A page will appear where you will add the class’s sign-up PIN, create a username, enter your first name, and create a password. 

Here is the PIN to add yourself to my class: ######### 

(*Note: Look for the student sign-up PIN number under the purple settings button on your homepage.) 

Make sure your password is easy enough for you to remember, but difficult enough that someone cannot just watch you type 12345. Write down your password somewhere safe. I recommend putting your password in your planner under your birthday. Then click “Create.” Take a few minutes and look around the site. Do NOT apply anything yet—just explore.

Now take a moment to click on the avatar and change it to something you like. You may upload a photo** as well, but it needs to be school appropriate. 

**Alternately, you can tell students they cannot upload a photo—but at an upcoming auction, they’ll be able to purchase the rights to upload a photo.

Now, navigate to certain pages so you can get familiar with the site:

    • On the student home page, find these things: net worth, assets, liabilities, bank transfer, bills, and transaction history
    • Jobs > Job board (where you’ll apply for jobs in the near future)
    • Under “My group,” Leaderboard
    • News Log (this is where everyone can make sure everyone else is being honest with their deposits and withdrawals)

Ask: Any questions about the site? Let’s actually go through and do a few transactions together. (Have students try a few transactions with you, both positive and negative, to practice using the system. Make sure everyone is starting with the same amount.)

Say: This is important. If you make a fraudulent transaction—or in other words, put money into your account when you shouldn’t—you will get a huge fraudulent transaction fine, or charge. So if you deposit money by mistake, make sure you tell me or the banker to fix it. We will all be able to see it on the news log—and if fraudulent transactions become a problem, we will have a few auditors who will go in to check everyone’s accounts and make sure everyone is doing the right thing. 

Debrief/Exit Ticket (5 min)

Have students write out what financial literacy is. They can use the ideas on the chart paper to help them answer the question. Pass out index cards or have them send you an email through their account to answer the exit ticket question. Once everyone turns in their exit ticket, reiterate that financial literacy is the ability to understand, manage, and invest money.

Teacher Hack: Exit Ticket Response Answer

Starting with a straightforward exit ticket question allows all students to feel successful. If they use their resources—the chart paper and what you’ve said during the lesson—everyone should get all the points and start off on the right note by feeling successful regarding learning about money. The straightforward exit ticket also reiterates the learning objective and shows students that engagement during the class period will lead to success. 

Behavior Management Hack #1: Creating Relationships Creates A Stronger Community

Ask students to put their heads down, no peeking. Then, ask them the following three questions and tell them to rate themselves by holding up their hands and displaying the number of fingers that match their response. 

Tell them the scale goes from 1–5.

        • 1 = bad
        • 2 = not great
        • 3 = okay
        • 4 = pretty good
        • 5 = awesome

Here are the questions: 

        • How are you feeling physically today?
        • How are you feeling mentally today?
        • How are you feeling emotionally today?

Take note of the students with a 1 or 2, and check in with them during or after class.

This hack gives you an instant insight into the overall feel of the classroom and allows students to anonymously show you how they are feeling and whether they are in need of support without bringing attention to themselves. You can do this during every class or whenever the classroom feels like it’s in a funk.