How to use The Fiscal Ship in your classroom

One of the main reasons we made The Fiscal Ship was to help students understand the federal budget, because budgeting isn’t just about numbers. It’s also about priorities.

If you’re a teacher, you can use The Fiscal Ship as an interactive and engaging teaching tool. Whether your students are studying civics, government, or economics, The Fiscal Ship can help them discover what policies they support, what those policies cost, and the tradeoffs involved in governing.

Check out the teacher resources below, then start a new game! Download the full Fiscal Ship game guide here.

Lesson plan materials

Our friends at the Council for Economic Education (CEE) have put together a great lesson plan to help you use the Fiscal Ship in your classroom. The Federal Budget Lesson Plan for Fiscal Ship is available at EconEdLink, where CEE offers K-12 teacher resources in economics and financial literacy.

The lesson plan is aligned with national and state standards, and comes with a packet of five handouts and a PowerPoint presentation with lots of great background information on key budget concepts. You can download all the lesson materials at the EconEdLink website

If you’re looking for a more casual way to use the Fiscal Ship in your college classroom, we’ve developed some tips from our experience playing with students: Download our guidelines for playing in groups.

Share your results!

Remind your students that they can share their results on Facebook (it’s easy to do!) and invite their friends to play, too. The more each of us knows about our own values and priorities, the easier it is to build the kind of country we want to live in.

TEACHER TIP:: Have your students save their game by clicking on the disk image. They'll get an alphanumeric save code that they can turn in to you to share their plan without the need for logging in to social media. Then you can load their results and see what policies they chose!

Have questions about how to play or how to teach with the Fiscal Ship? Drop us a line at fiscalship@brookings.edu.