‘Go Figure’ puts grant funds, partnerships to work for youth

April 22, 2014

Teaching children the value of a dollar through "Go Figure" is as much fun as kid-friendly activities, like buying ice cream and purchasing puppies, which have been incorporated into the program to show Terre Haute youth the importance of math in everyday life.

Earlier this year, the Indiana State University math education program joined forces with Old National Bank, Vigo County School Corp., Terre Haute Children's Museum, and a variety of other Wabash Valley organizations to deliver age-appropriate financial literacy outreach for youngsters and their parents through the generous support of an Old National Bank Grant to the Scott College of Business and the Bayh College of Education.

"What we teach is a foundation to get a conversation started between children and their families about financial literacy and math," said Katelynn Moats, a 2013 Indiana State elementary education graduate who, as an Indiana State student, co-founded Go Figure with Patty Butwin, an Indiana State alumnus and an ISU Center for Mathematics Education advisory board member.

"We talk with the children about spending for their needs and wants, and also talk about the importance of volunteering their time and sharing their talents, which will prepare them to make financial commitments when they are able to later in life," Moats said.

The Old National Bank Financial Health Outreach Program plans to build upon current initiatives by the Bayh College of Education and its Center for Math Education, including the Go Figure program sponsored by Indiana State's Center for Mathematics Education and the Children's Museum.

Deborah Webster, Indiana State's financial health outreach program director and a part-time lecturer in the math and computer science department, has involved her students in financial literacy education and has provided them opportunities to talk to elementary students about saving, sharing and spending money.

"This summer, I hope to set up a booth at the National Night Out Event (sponsored by the Terre Haute Police Department) and encourage adults and students to become financially literate," Webster said. "My goal is to work with all age groups, including talking to college students about credit cards and how to manage money better, and try to help families learn what money is all about."

Butwin feels the outreach efforts to date are achieving the goal of raising "dollars and cents" awareness based upon attendance at events including the 2013 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party, ISU's Family Day last September, the Terre Haute Children's Museum Ice Cream Social last Fall, Ben Franklin's Birthday Celebration at the museum in late January, and Matter and Motion at Ivy Tech Community College in March.

"What we like about hosting events at the Terre Haute Children's Museum is that there are generally a lot of parents and grandparents who accompany their children and take in what we teach, which is great because kids first learn how to handle money from their parents," she said.

The ultimate goal of the Old National Financial Health Outreach is to expand the program's presence at community events focused upon the family and to work with the Vigo County School Corp. and other community organizations to provide after-school programs to encourage students to be smart about money.

"Exposing kids to finances in this way is fun and keeps their attention, while providing a learning piece," said Moats, an elementary school teacher with Vigo County School Corp. "It is so important to start a conversation about financial literacy at a young age because they get to share their perspective on money and finances, which are great life skills."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or Betsy.Simon@indstate.edu

Story Highlights

The Indiana State University math education program joined forces with Old National Bank, Vigo County School Corp., Terre Haute Children's Museum, and a variety of other Wabash Valley organizations to deliver age-appropriate financial literacy outreach.

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