The last week before Winter Break, 6th grade math students worked on a project centering around the topic of money. In groups, they studied specific topics and presented their understanding and research to the class. Group 1 focused on bank accounts and how to choose a financial institution based on the services they provide. They also presented their findings about the differences between debit cards and credit cards. Group 2 taught the class how to calculate your account balance by keeping in mind checks, deposits, and withdrawals. In addition, they explained how to build good credit and the ramifications of having either a good or bad credit score. Because going to college in America can be very expensive, Group 3 researched the various ways in which families can afford it. They shared their new understanding of scholarships and grants, student loans, and work-study programs. All of the groups spent an entire period presenting to their classmates and answering questions.
Being financially literate means taking responsibility for learning how to manage your money. In this short unit, students learned about banking services to help them begin to think about how to make choices about which financial institution would be right for them. They learned about managing money, using credit wisely, and planning for the future through saving. All those skills are part of personal financial literacy. They discovered how to apply their knowledge of mathematics to help make wise decisions. They also applied what they learned to solve real-world financial problems (AP Springboard, 2014). Some of the new vocabularies in the unit included: savings account, checking account, withdrawal, transfer, debit card, credit card, deposit, credit report, and interest.
Minsuh K (G6), a student who participated in the project, reflected, "I enjoyed this project because it was our first math project. We learned to listen to each other and give advice. Now I know how to present to my class." Liam B (G6) also said, "The only way to learn about something you don't know is to ask questions. I was able to do that during this project."
Mr. Colin Levitt, a Middle School math teacher at SJA Jeju said, "I believe that learning about money is an important skill. Our Middle School math curriculum not only teaches students various concepts, but also helps them think about real-world issues." He also added, "Using the material I shared with my students, along with the independent research they did, and the student presentations, I know they have a new perspective and understanding of how money works. One highlight was hearing students call a credit card Mom's Magic Credit Card. I think students now realize the "magic" behind how mom's card works.