“The $5 Challenge”

Originally posted in our August 2021 Top of Mind Newsletter.

When we think about giving students autonomy, many different things come to mind. One influential model that educators at Stanford have been using seems to spark some of the most creative opportunities you could imagine in the classroom.

Tina Seelig, Ph.D., offers her students $5 and two hours to make as much money as the team can. With as much time to plan as they needed, student groups that made the most money ignored the $5 and focused on what value they could provide others. Some of the ideas were truly inspired. They provided the students with an invaluable lesson regardless of if they made money or not.

By seeing that money was not necessary to act on opportunity, the students began to see problems worth solving in places many of us would not look. If we’re looking for personalized instruction ideas, $5 challenges like this one seem a great way to build a set of crucial competencies, namely resourcefulness, and self-efficacy.

Try it out