Thursday, May 13, 2010

Banks in Schools

Recently I have seen a handful of articles about banks in schools. This article in the Washington Post and this post on a financial blog called The Sun's Financial Diary. As I read more and more about bank in school, I see them as a great opportunity to create awareness about money management, savings, investing and more. I also wonder how schools and teachers are taking advantage of these opportunistic.
  • What role are students playing in operating the banks?
  • How are teachers incorporating the material into their classes and in which subject areas do they include information on banks and banking?
  • What role are the banks playing in providing educational material or support?
My initial thoughts about topics that could be explored in math classrooms are:
  • what does a bank do with your money and how do they make money?
  • savings and growth
  • interest (for savings and borrowing)
  • lending
  • account fees and models for how much various ways of managing ones money might cost
Does anyone have experience with banks in their schools?
Are there other math concepts that make sense to people?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Financial Calculators

I think has some great calculators that allow you (or your students) to play with various models for savings and borrowing and all the components that affect interest earned or paid.

The image on the right shows the savings calculator and it's a great tool for helping students explore the impact of different interest rates, contributions, etc.

Similarly, it offers calculators for mortgages, credit card payments, car loans and more.

Do you know of any other good sites with financial calculators? Maybe ones that have graphing along with charts?


Michelle Singletary's Washington Post Column

Michelle Singletary had a nice column in the Washington Post this weekend discussing a NEFE funded study that found that "most instructors don't think they are suitably trained to teach their students the basics of personal finance." She also notes the importance of financial education at home and questions the role of schools as the primary educator in this area. I agree with her and suspect that this type of education should take place at home as well as in schools. But I would argue that schools are not taking advantage of a valuable opportunity to offer good education around how financial matters work and the math behind them. I say that recognizing, as NEFE does, that we'll need to provide good education to teachers on these topics as well before we can set high expectations for what teachers can do in schools.


Welcome to our Financial Education and Math Blog! Not a great title, but to the point, right? So what's the point. We at the Math Forum want to help create useful resources for teachers to use in their math classrooms that will help students see how important math is in understanding their money and money management. We recognize there is a big push for financial education in schools these days and a great deal of concern that students are leaving schools without some useful life skills that are related to money. We also recognize that teachers need to have resources for their classrooms and for themselves, since in their teacher education programs there was not a whole lot of focus on teaching financial education methods or the like. As we develop our resources, we want to include as much teacher feedback and advice as possible because we feel that teachers are the best judge of what will be useful for them in their classrooms.

What can you expect to see here?
  • Relevant and recent articles on financial education topics
  • Ideas for classroom activities and where they might fit into math topics (i.e. instead of teaching this example, you can use this financial example)
  • Links to Math Forum resources that might be of use
  • Resources that seem useful from other people/sites/organizations
  • And it seems relevant
Thanks for visiting, hope to see you again soon.