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Would you bet your beans?

Would you bet your beans?

In last Saturday’s talk to the scholars Mr Brodie (Head of Economics and Business Studies) spoke about how to make the right financial choices in business. He asked us to connect to an app called kahoot.it and asked two volunteers to come and play the live game show. We all connected to the online quiz and played alongside the volunteers. Mr Brodie explained that the two girls were going to be working together to win huge jelly bean prizes, which were sitting temptingly on the stage!

At first, he gave two bags of jelly beans for the girls to gamble with. They worked together as a team and chose to keep one bag and gamble with one. The questions were simple general knowledge questions but the contestants didn't know this. The first question was asked and they got it right. This meant they won double what they had gambled. They now had three bags! He then asked us if we thought he was a nice person, which we all said yes to, of course, but it then raised doubt in our minds about how hard the next question was going to be. He then asked the two players how much they would like to gamble on the next question. The girls still seemed to trust him and gambled two bags and kept one in reserve. They got this question right too and they now had five bags. On the last question they gambled only one and kept four to be safe, still not knowing whether the questions would be simple or really tough. They got the last one right too and they now had won six bags but had had the opportunity to have won many more. The volunteers had been quite conservative with their betting strategy. Interestingly there were many boys in the room wanting to bet all their jelly beans on each question!

For the final round of the "Quiz Show" the two contestants had a choice: to turn against each other or work together to keep their prize. This part was all about trust and co-operation. They both had a choice to steal the other's prize or to share it. They both had signs that on one side said “share” and on the other side, “steal”. This allowed them to choose an option without revealing it to the other. If one person raised the steal sign and one put up share sign, the thief would win all the beans. However, if they both chose to steal, nobody would have got any jelly beans at all! They then had to discuss their options together, using whichever strategy they wanted, including bluffing, lying or honesty in order to get the prize. It was exciting to see the final result as one volunteer bluffed her choice saying she wouldn’t choose steal but did exactly that and then won the game as the other chose to share!

I think this talk had a very deep meaning, aside from being fun to watch and participate in. There were a lot of choices the two contestants had to make: they had to work together as a team, they had to trust each other and decide when to make risky choices for the team and for their own benefit. It also showed how easy it is to be tricked by someone you trust and how greed can undermine honesty.

This game also symbolised the choices you could have to make in later life, in taking high risk strategies to potentially gain big rewards or opt for a lower risk options with smaller rewards. It demonstrated the need to do thorough research in order to make educated decisions rather than guessing and hoping for the best. It certainly got us all thinking, and not just about jelly beans!

Rupert Dean
Year 9 Academic Scholar