Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Pushing Play on the "Game to Prepare for Life"

Mariah Warren, Shelby Blackwood, Lindsay Hawkins, Teresa Lansford, Lindsay Williams, Mary Braggs, Dana Russ | Published: April 21st, 2023 by K20 Center

Essential Questions

  • What is needed to host a successful “Game to Prepare for Life” event?

  • What are the benefits of hosting a “Game to Prepare for Life” event?

Learning Goals

  • Experience a modified version of the “Game to Prepare for Life.”

  • Discuss the challenges of implementing the game.

  • Develop a plan for implementing a “Game to Prepare for Life” activity at your own location.

Materials List

  • Presentation Slides (attached)

  • Booth Materials (Samples) packet (attached; 1 per participant)

  • Event Setup packet (attached; 1 per participant)

  • Chance Cards (attached)

  • Sample Career Ledgers (attached; see printing instructions in Engage below)

  • Prize wheel or a bowl with colored paper to match ledgers


15 Minute(s)

Display slide 2 of the attached Presentation Slides and make introductions.

Show slide 3 and have participants record their thoughts in the Mentimeter. Share the Mentimeter results with participants and reflect on what they see. Move to slides 4–5 and connect responses to the “Game to Prepare for Life” and the PD’s essential questions and learning objectives.


30 Minute(s)

Move to slide 6. Participants will now get to experience a sample of what students will do when playing the “Game to Prepare for Life.” If you have enough facilitators, you can have them man the sample booths, or if your group is small enough, you can move through the booths together. Participants follow the directions at each booth and use their ledger to budget and make decisions. At 10-minute intervals, spin the Chance Wheel or pull a color paper from a bowl. Have participants with that color of ledger come up to get a chance card. Ask participants to read their chance cards aloud to the group so that others can get a better idea of what scenarios are on the cards.

After going through the sample booths, move to slide 7. Give participants time to record their responses to How Am I Feeling? What Am I Thinking? Ask for volunteers to share out. Make connections to what they mentioned in the Mentimeter about student misconceptions.


30 Minute(s)

Go through slides 8–10 to see examples of how some schools have implemented the “Game to Prepare for Life.” Talk about set up, logistics, and student responses. Move to slide 11 and hand out the Booth Materials Sample Packet. As participants go over the materials, use a modified S-I-T (Surprising, Interesting, Troubling) strategy to encourage them to add notes to sticky notes for the following prompts:

  • Strongest aspect of this activity

  • Most Intimidating part of facilitating this activity

  • Timing of the activity

Give them time to discuss what they recorded in small groups and then share out to the larger group.


30 Minute(s)

Display slide 12 and hand out the Event Setup packet and have them turn to the planning checklist. Give participants time to think about the tasks and time frame to use backward design to begin scheduling and planning their event.

Slide 13 has a QR code to the “Game to Prepare for Life” educator resource on K20 LEARN. The activity includes a detailed narrative for integrating the event and all of the materials to host the “Game to Prepare for Life.”

Move to slide 14 and give participants time to share out and ask questions about what they saw in both the planning materials and the LEARN student activity.


15 Minute(s)

Display slide 15. As an Exit Ticket, ask: How does the “Game to Prepare for Life” address some of the misconceptions students have about life after high school?

Give participants time to share their thoughts. Encourage them to reach out to the presenters with any questions they might have as they work through planning and hosting their event.

Research Rationale

College can be a life-altering experience for students, and not only academically. Here are just a few of the ways in which college can change students' lives for the better: Earning a bachelor's degree will allow students to earn, on average, $1 million more than high school graduates over the course of their careers (Abel & Deitz, 2014). College offers students an opportunity to build relationships with mentors and peers that will benefit them throughout their careers (Campbell, Smith, Dugan, & Komives, 2012). College graduates tend to have more job satisfaction, jobs that offer a greater sense of accomplishment, more independence and opportunities for creativity, and more social interactions in their jobs than noncollege graduates (Oreopoulos & Petronijevic, 2013). College graduates increase their chances of employment. Over the last 20 years, the unemployment rate for college graduates has been approximately half that of high school graduates (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). College helps students develop skills that prepare them for careers in the tech-driven economy, including nonroutine, abstract skills that aid in problem-solving, multitasking, and creativity (Oreopoulos & Petronijevic, 2013).