What a coincidence! Just as I was putting together my post on “Blanchet Benjamins”, one of my former students posted on Facebook about the “Dollar Rede$ign Project” where designers from all over the country are submitting extreme makeovers of U.S. currency. (See my previous entry for my submission. 😉 ) The rationale is that the dollar’s main competitor, the Euro, is much cooler looking than our old-fashioned greenbacks.
What do you think? Is it time for an upgrade to the look of our cash? Many argue that this is totally unnecessary at a time when we should be concerned about the value of the US dollar, not its appearance. Others say that a modern overhaul may help boost the dollar among its competitors worldwide. Regardless of which side is right, I think it is fun and interesting to see the ideas that people are coming up with.
My favorite submission features a total redesign with different sizes assigned to each denomination for easy counting at a glance. A totally new set of pictures is also introduced, excluding almost all the original presidents currently depicted on our 1-500 dollar bills. While I don’t know if I agree with these drastic changes, I do like the look of it and I think that the picture choices could be changed fairly easily to reflect what everyone agrees should be shown on our money. Check out Huffington Post for a slideshow of some more of the best designs.
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:
On the first day of class, (in January) my students played Financial Football, a game created by “Practical Money Skills for Life”, a website that offers a ton of online money management tools for young people. The students enjoyed and have been asking me everyday to play it since the Saints won the NFC championship. They played today for good luck before the Super Bowl. We use activotes and the Promethean board to play.
Our class was mentioned in Tuesday’s paper for our efforts: http://www.nola.com/superbowl/index.ssf/2010/02/schools_adapt_lessons_to_capit.html
Please visit these sites to see Financial Football and the other tools offered by its makers, check out the photos of my students enjoying the game, and please pray for our boys in Miami on Sunday night!!!