I know, I know, I haven’t written a post in ages! It has been a super-busy summer for me what with teaching summer school, baking cakes (hobby of the month, lol) for every birthday party and baby shower imaginable, and trying to wrap my mind around how I am going to prepare for the upcoming school year. I am currently attending a week-long Financial Math Institute in Philadelphia hosted by the Math Forum at Drexel University. In the photo above, you see the director of the Math Forum @ Drexel, several financial education consultants, Dr. Math (as in “Ask Dr. Math”), university professors, software engineers, and math teachers from all over the U.S. and Canada. We spent our time together discussing and exploring an array of financial literacy topics and how they could be integrated into secondary math courses. I come away from this experience with a renewed sense of purpose with regard to the importance of teaching my students how to deal with money.
If only it were this easy…LOL
One thing that I noticed years ago is that Financial Math is a subject that is typically reserved for students who have been labeled as not being “college-material”. For this reason, it is rarely offered in schools or programs with a college-preparatory curriculum. At this institute I have met many teachers from schools in other states who have observed this issue in their districts, as well. Interestingly enough, college students often fall prey to credit card peddlers (remember the “free t-shirts”?) and are unequipped to handle the many financial pitfalls that await them in their lives after college. It seems that anyone, regardless of their educational background, needs to be financially literate. As teachers, we need to prepare our students, all of them, to make solid financial decisions in their adult lives.
As I step down from my soapbox, I encourage all my fellow math teachers to consider how they could incorporate financial topics into their mathematics curriculum. Many of us already do. One thing that always gets kids’ attention is MONEY. We all use it to teach fractions, decimals and percents, but it does not have to stop there. In the coming weeks I will be putting together a PD for the math teachers of my district and compiling as many online resources as possible where you can find problems and projects that bring financial issues into high school math classes. Stay tuned for links and ideas! Here are a few good places to start:
- Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy– http://www.jumpstart.org
- Practical Money Skills for Life (one of my favorites)– http://practicalmoneyskills.com/
- National Financial Capability Challenge Lessons for Teachers–http://www.challenge.treas.gov/educator_toolkit/topics.htm
- Bankrate.com (lots of free financial calculators)– http://www.bankrate.com/