This is my first semester in the Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology program at the University at Albany. I received my Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Cortland in 2010 and hold an Initial Certificate in Mathematics grades 7-12. I have taught Algebra 1 and Geometry, and am currently teach Algebra 2 at Broome-Tioga BOCES in a program called P-TECH (Pathways to Technology in Early College High school).
I am transitioning into a new position this year, teaching Algebra 2 in P-TECH's Health Science, Engineering, and Computer Technology Academies and coordinating Work-Based Learning initiatives. I am building interdisciplinary projects for Grades 9 to 12 that will give students the opportunity to work directly with local businesses. I am very excited about this mix of mathematics, community outreach, and project development - pretty much my dream mix!
My background is in educational media, specifically public media, elementary math video resources, and teaching media production to teens. In 2017, I decided to retest the waters and see if I was still interested in being a public school teacher. I am! And so, I am pursuing a Master of Science in CDIT and working toward Profession Certification.
I enjoy crafting, gardening, board games, and organizing stuff. My titles include wife, mom, step-mom, daughter, sister, and (my new favorite!) Aunt Annie.
Topic and Purpose
Including Personal Finance When Teaching Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
The topic of this course is on the value of integrating personal finance in the high school mathematics classroom. The purpose of this course is to teach mathematics educators about the effectiveness of having their students learn personal finance concepts in conjunction with exponential and logarithmic function lessons.
Topics that will be covered:
- What is personal finance?
- To what degree should high school graduates understand how to manage their personal finances?
- How do educators find a balance between computation and conceptual understanding?
- How do educators design instruction to authentically include real-world applications?
The intent of this course is to enlighten educators on how to integrate personal finance effectively in the classroom.
Participants will be able to:
- List the situations in life that are classified as matters of personal finance. (Verbal)
- Evaluate whether or not learners graduate high school with sufficient understanding of the financial situations they will encounter. (Cognitive Strategy)
- Identify ways of using and applying interest rates and compound interest during instruction on exponential and logarithmic functions. (Verbal Information and Intellectual Skill)
- Analyze the costs and benefits on the learner to using online calculators. (Cognitive Strategy)
- Choose to create a community-centered learning environment around personal finance topics in the classroom. (Attitude)
Although we all use money throughout our daily lives, many people operate without a financial plan or a full understanding of their financial health, now or in the future. Lusardi and Mitchell (2011, Oct 11) used three questions to measure financial knowledge internationally across eight countries and found that “financial literacy is very low around the world, irrespective of the level of financial market development and the type of [retirement] pension provided” (Lusardi & Mitchell, 2011 Oct 11). In order for our population to make sound financial choices, and thus sustain ourselves over a lifetime, we need to promote the study of mathematics throughout high school. The results of a paper presented by Cole, Paulson, and Shastry (2013) “are particularly important given the tight link between math skills and many measures of financial literacy” (p. 6).
Of Lusardi and Mitchell’s three questions to determine financial literacy, “two are quite mathematical: What is the future value of $100 saved over 5 years at a 2% interest rate; and how does the real value of savings change in an environment with 1% interest and 2% inflation. This suggests that in many settings it may be difficult to separate the two [math skills and measures of financial literacy]” (p. 6-7). In order to assist students in avoiding costly financial mistakes, states and school districts can “improve financial decision-making by changing high school graduation requirements” (Cole, Paulson, & Shastry, 2013, p. 31). Contrary to previous literature, Cole, Paulson, and Shastry (2013) found that personal finance courses did not improve savings behavior or have a measurable effect on credit management outcomes and, therefore, states should reconsider their mandates and investment in this type of course.
Math educators hold an influential position in their students’ financial futures and can choose to prioritize financial literacy in their classrooms. Research shows “that individuals who were exposed to greater math requirements in high school are more likely to accumulate assets, have more real estate equity, are less likely to be delinquent on their loans, and are less likely to declare bankruptcy and undergo foreclosure” (Cole, Paulson, & Shastry, 2013, p. 32). Although classroom teachers cannot change state graduation mandates, they can integrate financial topics into existing math courses and mentor all their students, regardless of math tracking practices, to take a math course each year of high school.
What is to be Learned:
Mathematics educators will learn how to integrate personal finance by growing their own understanding of the topic. Participants will learn to examine exponential modeling with percent growth and decay and compound interest through the lens of wealth management. Participants will be inspired to authentically include finance professionals from their community in their courses.
Learners will include secondary mathematics educators teaching in Grade 9-12 environments. Learners will all have experience using money on a daily basis and year-over-year and familiarity with calculating exponential growth and decay and compound interest in the context of word problems. Additionally, learners will have some experience teaching financial vocabulary included in such word problems but may not have a deep understanding of their application to wealth management. Instruction and activities will be geared toward the classroom teacher although information could also be shared with secondary students, when developmentally appropriate.
Learners within this course include secondary mathematics educators, most likely for grades 9-12. Participants will have varying degrees of familiarity with conceptualizing and calculating measures of financial literacy in addition to varying interest in personal finance.
Context for Instruction:
Participants in this mini-course will learn content online, in any location with a device and a stable Internet connection.
Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution:
Participants will explore sections of the course that will elevate their personal finance knowledge as well as methods for expanding financial topics within Algebra 2 units. Participants will engage in activities that allow them to develop their own ideas for prioritizing personal finance whenever applicable, providing them with the opportunity to tailor classroom resources to their individual teaching environments.
Goals of this Mini-Course:
One goal of this course is to create an awareness within the mind of mathematics educators regarding the importance of personal finance topics and the level of connectedness these topics have to existing curriculum. A second goal of this course is to provide lesson plan ideas that will improve the real-world application of content in a unit on exponential functions. Lastly, a third goal of this course is to help educators provide a memorable learning experience for students that will help them to make healthy financial decisions after high school.
- When given two questions used to determine financial literacy in an international study of adults, the learner will solve each problem with 100% accuracy using a four-function calculator, paper, and pencil.
- After having the opportunity to solve the two questions used to determine financial literacy, the learner will breakdown no less than five math skills he/she used in a graphic organizer.
- Given two word problems from a popular Common Core Algebra 2 curriculum, the learner will list no less than ten financial concepts or definitions one must know in order to solve the two problems.
- Provided with the current NYS Regents Diploma requirements, the learner will predict categories of students who are at risk of graduating high school without sufficient understanding of wealth management in 150 to 200 words.
- Given a graphing calculator and an online interest calculator, the learner will summarize in a flow chart the calculations that each tool does to find a loan balance after 1 month, 1 year, and 5 years.
- Given the question, ‘What community member will you invite into your classroom to improve students’ financial decision-making capacity?’, the learner will write an email to secure this community connection.
- When the learner has a choice to integrate wealth management topics into lessons, the learner chooses to prepare overarching scenario problems that span at least two class periods.
Elaborate and analyze the objectives to identify more specific enabling and supporting objectives.
Map out the sequence of learning units and activities to achieve the defined objectives.
References and Resources
Cole, S., Paulson, A., & Shastry, G. K. (2013). High school and financial outcomes: The impact of mandated personal finance and mathematics courses. Manuscript: Harvard Business School. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.360.6695&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2011, Oct 11). Financial literacy around the world. J Pension Econ Financ, 10(4): 497–508. doi:10.1017/S1474747211000448. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5445931/pdf/nihms857789.pdf