Jan 30, 2023

Checking + Saving = Banking in the Semester Course

Since 2014 when NGPF started writing lesson plans, Checking and Saving have always been separate units. But, that changed when it came to the Summer 2022 complete revamp of the flagship Semester Course. The flow of money between checking and savings accounts is fluid, and online banking and mobile apps might factor into both types of accounts. So, if you're teaching using Semester Course, know that Checking and Saving aren't missing -- they're blended into one awesome Banking unit, our favorite part of which is... 

The Online Bank Sim! 

We've had a bank sim for years now, but it, too, got an overhaul in Fall 2022, and it's such a smoother operation now. Students don't need to set up an account, there's no username and password, we've added the ability to "online shop" in order to generate authentic teen transactions, and we've revised how it handles overdraft fees to keep up with recent changes to bank policies. If you're using the Semester Course, you'll find the sim in SC-2.8 Navigating Your Online Bank Account. On the same topic, a fun add-on that's not in Semester Course but would fit wonderfully in SC-2.3 Beware of Banking Fees is this FinCap Friday: Competition Drives Change. It goes into these recent changes in overdraft fees, which are not nearly as pervasive as they used to be! 

SC-2.4 Being Unbanked

NGPF realizes that in many communities, being a member of a local bank branch or using online banking may not be the norm. This lesson dives into the topic of being unbanked (in short, not using the traditional banking system) and underbanked (having access to traditional banking while also using banking alternatives) in a fair and balanced way. A highlight is the included activity INTERACTIVE: What's the Banking Status in Your Area? which personalizes this topic at the state level for your students; you could take the conversation even more local to reflect banking status in your community. This lesson also calls out payroll cards and prepaid cards. If you yourself are a little confused at how these cards work and compare, you could do the free one-hour On-Demand PD, 3 Lesser-Known Cards, which also tackles secured credit cards. 

SC-2.6 Challenges to Saving

On the savings front, it's important to acknowledge how hard the act of saving can be for individuals. Each Semester Course lesson has an Intro, a Learn It (new content), a Do It (active engagement for your students), and an Exit Ticket. If you check out the Learn It in SC-2.6 Challenges to Saving, you'll see a choice board where students can self-select to learn about shopping on credit, inflation, and living paycheck to paycheck. This lesson's Do It portion features the NGPF Arcade game Spent with an optional worksheet for students to do in-class or for homework. 

If the Semester Course unit on Banking sounds like it would work well in your class, you can check out the entire unit or even the entire course here on the Semester Course page. Note, too, that all of the activities mentioned in this blog post (and more!) are available as a Spanish translation, too, and all the lessons are available pre-loaded into Nearpod for your convenience. 

About the Author

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.

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