Unit 4: Designing Instruction with Real-World Applications

Objective: Participants will demonstrate the ability to plan an authentic community engagement experience for students.

  1. You will criticize the biases of financial professionals in the community.
  2. You will set up a guest speaker from the personal finance industry.


Tech Check:

  • Add the Unit 4 Google Doc to your Google Drive. This is where you will collect your knowledge from Unit 4.

What is the role of community in learning?

Teachers build community in their classrooms in a variety of ways. It is import to implement procedures and develop norms to create a sense of belonging in a class, with roles, routines, posted expectations, and clear guidelines from the beginning of the school year. These classroom community relationships create an environment where effective learning can take place.

But, there is a broader sense of place in community to consider. Community-centered environments refer to “ the degree to which students, teachers and administrators feel connected to the larger community of homes, businesses, states, the nation, and even the world” (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000, p. 145). This type of community connected-ness has a powerful impact on engagement and learning!

Teachers can intentionally create connections outside the classroom by interacting with community members, professionals, and businesses in authentic ways. These connections could include visits to educational community sites (bank, credit union, car dealership, college financial aid office, etc.), exploring careers via classroom guests and virtual or physical field trips, and planning public product elements or large-scale presentations with an out-of-school audience. These ideas and others lead to meaningful community-centered learning when executed in alignment to course goals and objectives!

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Who do you already know in the finance profession that could speak to your students?

  • Do not judge your own ideas at this phase of brainstorming! Write down everyone that crosses your mind, irregardless of whether or not you think they would be interested.
  • Some questions to start your brainstorm: Do you know anyone who works for a bank or credit union? A financial adviser or financial planner? Anyone who works with loans in any capacity? (national companies, mortgage broker, financial aid office, car dealership, etc.)
  • Spend 3-5 minutes reflecting on this question. List all existing contacts in your Unit 4 Google Doc #1.


It is important to acknowledge that extra effort and logistical details must be dealt with, but the spirit of this mini-course encourages you to focus on engagement, impact, and connection to students’ lives. Our students will have finances to manage after high school and their willingness to seek professional assistance can be effected by their experience in your class. It is important to connect the math involved in personal wealth management to what goes on outside of the classroom and, as adults, in daily life.

What type of finance professional would be an appropriate guest?

There is great variety when considering professions related to personal finance, so it is important to invite a guest who will speak to the real-world application of compound interest. You need to communicate clearly with your guest that, while they should share the name of the company that they work for, they may not 'sell' (implicitly or explicitly) any products or services to students.

Here are four different types of financial advisors:

  1. Brokers/Insurance Agents
  2. Fee-Based Financial Advisors
  3. Fee-Only Financial Planners/Advisors
  4. Registered Investment Advisors

How well do you understand the differences? Take this quiz to find out!

Be sure to click VIEW SCORE to see how you did! The feedback on your answers also provide additional resources if you would like to learn more.


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In the spirit of separating sales from education, take a closer look at the fiduciary standard and watch a three-minute video titled Why Choose an Independent Financial Advisor? posted by Jazz Wealth Managers (2018), a registered investment advisory firm. As you watch, consider how the fiduciary standard would impact the bias of a guest speaking to your students. The most applicable information is contained in the first 3:20 of the video.

Build a list of questions that you will want to address in the process of searching for and coordinating with a guest. Add these questions to your Unit 1 Google Doc (#2). Three ideas have been added to the list to start your thinking.

How do you invite a finance professional into your classroom?

You have located some potential guests. Great! Now what?

Phone calls are an option but not always an efficient form of communication for classroom teachers, so written communication may serve you best. Research your potential guests online; company websites and social media accounts often provide an email address for initial contacts or a "Contact Us" form you can submit.

Partial screenshot from www.visionsfcu.org



For example, a local financial institution in the author's area is Visions Federal Credit Union. When you visit their website, select the Resources tab, and locate the Education Menu, you will find an option to Request A Community Educator. Such a convenient form! This type of outreach work is not exclusive Visions; once you start looking, you will find that many local companies carrying out some type of community outreach or educational initiatives (aka free!).



If an online form is not available, you will need to reach out via email. Once you have done this once, you will be able to update the message for different guests and different situations, so it is a worthwhile exercise to do thoroughly now. So, let's write an email! Choose a name from your list and draft an email in your Unit 4 Google Doc #3. A template is provided to get you started: File:Cartie sample email.pdf



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