Material Detail

"SPENT" icon


Interactive website which places user in poverty situation due to loss of job, and then challenges user to make important choices across a broad set of contingencies.  (In addition to educational value, the site solicits donations for sponsoring organization.)


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Sharron L Terrell
Sharron L Terrell (Faculty)
2 years ago
Spent helped first year students studying principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics understand the meaning of poverty. Spent was assigned as an extra credit activity to be completed independently and concluded with a written summary of reactions to the simulation. Class discussion regarding the US Census Bureau's definition of poverty and the relationship to the minimum wage preceded the assignment. Students commented on the ease of accessing and playing Spent and on how little time the simulation required. Spent obviously captured students' interest because some students reported running the simulation (playing) multiple times by changing decisions/responses to questions. After completing the Spent simulation, students demonstrated the ability to distinguish between the impoverished and subjective feeling of poverty. Additionally, Spent made it easy to segway into discussions about other economic concepts like consumer preferences, social welfare and government spending. The simulation is also appropriate for intermediate micro and macro students.
Used in course? Yes
Ben Malczyk
Ben Malczyk (Faculty)
7 years ago

Great resource to do a quick poverty simulation in an intro to social work course. Students always enjoy this exercise. I often put them in groups and have them debate and discuss each decision. It can be an eye opening experience for many students, especially in general education courses that are full of non-social work majors. 

Used in course? Yes
Time spent reviewing site: 1 hour
Michael Yacci
Michael Yacci (Faculty)
11 years ago

Very interesting approach to simulation. A lot of prompting, but very engaging, nonetheless. Not sure if this is the type of activity that you can play multiiple times or not. Will be fun to review it in class and get student input.

Time spent reviewing site: 30 minutes