Budget Hero

Common Sense Media says

Game challenges players to balance federal budget.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Encourages people to seek out factual, nonpartisan information so they can be more informed about fiscal issues.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Players are asked to provide personal and demographic information for research purposes but are not required to share any of this information in order to play the game.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this simulation game provides factual, nonpartisan information on fiscal issues and encourages players to attempt to balance the federal government's budget. Most kids will probably find BUDGET HERO challenging, but there's no inappropriate content.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • government
  • the economy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • thinking critically

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Players get a personalized experience because the game lets them choose to expand or cut funding and taxes that relate to issues they care about. They’ll see how their decisions immediately affect the budget.

Learning Approach

Teens visually see the impact reducing or expanding policies will have on the federal budget for a decade. They can read about each program’s background and learn about public policy, government, and decision-making.

Support

Kids can also access a list of more than 30 sources for additional budget, policy, and government information. Registered users can also see how their potential budget compares to other users' plans.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • government
  • the economy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • thinking critically

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • making wise decisions

Kids can learn how the federal government's budget is allocated in Budget Hero, a simulation game that challenges players to take a shot at balancing the budget. Different policy areas are represented by buildings that grow or shrink as players decide to increase or decreasing spending, and the pros and cons of each issue are presented. Budget Hero is an engaging, educational, and frequently frustrating game; an accurate reflection real world struggles.

This Learning Rating review was written by Susan Yudt

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What's it about?

Produced by the nonprofit organization American Public Media, in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Center's Serious Games Initiative, Budget Hero uses data from the Congressional Budget Office to illustrate how the federal budget is spent. Players can decide where to increase or decrease spending based on their own values and priorities and can see how their decisions affect America's fiscal future. Each expenditure that's up for debate is explained on a policy card that lists the pros and cons of increasing or decreasing funding. Players can also raise or cut taxes in an attempt to balance the budget.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Budget Hero succeeds as both an educational tool that offers factual details about how taxes are spent, and as a simulation of the challenging, frustrating experience of balancing a budget. Presenting the pros and cons of each issue illuminates perspectives that may be new to players and provides a refreshing alternative to partisan politics.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media's coverage of politics. How do you know if a source is trustworthy?

  • Budget Hero instructs players to choose "badges" that reflect their values and priorities when it comes to spending. Which badges did you choose, and why?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Budget Hero was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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