“Business Simulations Are About Putting Into Practice What We Teach,” Says Texas High School Business Teacher

by Jeff Rutherford

Marci Hargrove, a teacher for 28 years, teaches business classes to sophomores, juniors and seniors at the Central High School-Keller ISD in Keller, Texas. Hargrove’s classes include: Accounting 1 and 2, Business Information Management and Business Management.

Hargrove, the child of two public school educators, likes to give back to her community via education.

Hargrove uses several of Knowledge Matters’ online business simulations with her students. In Accounting 1 and 2, Hargrove uses the Virtual Business - Accounting sim as reinforcement and application after she has covered all the classroom information. In Business Management, Hargrove uses the Virtual Business - Retailing and Virtual Business - Management sims as initial instruction and curriculum. In Business Management 2, Hargrove uses the Virtual Business - Personal Finance sim as curriculum during the final six weeks of the year during the Future Focused unit.

“Simulations are about putting into practice what we teach, and Knowledge Matters provides this in a highly engaging way,” Hargrove said.

Marci Hargrove

Hargrove has used a variety of Knowledge Matters’ online business simulations, but she gets the most feedback from students working with Virtual Business - Personal Finance.

“Students are so engaged and determined to be successful in it because of the personalization of it and that it gives them an opportunity to see if they really have what it takes to make it on their own out there. Parents love the help in teaching their children areas of life they may or may not have the time…or patience…to teach them at home. For those who do have the time and patience, it reinforces what they have shared with their children," Hargrove said.

“As a teacher, I personally love this one the most because all students have a level starting position of $5,000; no one starts out with one up on anyone else and what they accomplish is with their money based on their own decisions. Autonomy, mastery and relevance…those are the key things that help true learning occur….Knowledge Matters’ Virtual Business- Personal Finance brings the fun into it.”

In addition to integrating the Knowledge Matter’s online business simulations into her classes and curriculum, Hargrove also runs in-class competitions using Personal Finance and Accounting. In the Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner competition in Hargrove’s classroom, the individual/team in the Accounting competition won a chicken dinner, and the second and third place teams won chicken-related prizes too.

Central High School - Keller ISD - Business class

Hargrove, like many high school teachers, is faced with teaching kids often distracted by their phones or peers. Hargrove credits the interactivity of the Knowledge Matters’ online business simulations for capturing her students’ attention in a very good way.

“Have you ever seen students focused on anything other than their phones for longer than 10 minutes at a time in a high school setting?” Hargrove asked. “I have because they wanted to get the right apartment…including the decorations…and job in the Virtual Business - Personal Finance sim! Have you ever seen students come in during their lunches to reach a new level? I have because they wanted the extra credit I gave associated to attaining new levels in the Virtual Business - Personal Finance Sim!”

With her years of teaching experience, Hargrove has several tips/suggestions on successfully integrating Knowledge Matters’ online business simulations into the classroom:

Set up individual, team, class competitions. Hargrove has created competitions and prize structures for both the VB - Accounting and the VB - Personal Finance simulations, and the students enjoy this! The kids who are competitive by nature definitely enjoy the in-class competitions.

Get the local media involved. Hargrove’s local paper ran a story on her use of the VB - Personal Finance simulation in her Business and Finance course. The media coverage helped increase Hargrove’s course enrollments.

Publicly recognize students who do well. Hargrove worked with her school’s public relations person to include notices about competition winners in email newsletters to parents.

Utilize the ability to shuffle the business sim lessons.

Let kids experiment…especially with the Personal Finance Sim.

Central High School - Keller ISD - Business class