Next Gen has a PROJECT BANK!

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Sep 16, 2015
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Lesson Idea, Teaching Strategies, New Products, Featured NGPF Lesson, Front Page Spotlight, FAQs

Our September product releases just keep on rolling with our latest feature — the Next Gen Personal Finance Project Bank! This is a convenient way to spice up your personal finance curriculum with some engaging, in-depth work for your students. To jump right in, click the link above. For a little more support, here are…

Project Bank FAQs

1. You already have an Activity Bank. How is this different?

Here’s how I think of it:

  • Activities allow students to learn/practice essential skills for achieving lesson objectives; projects extend the lesson’s learning.
  • Our NGPF activities are frequently scaffolded, with step-by-step assistance for students; projects require students to choose their own next-steps or problem-solving strategies.
  • Activities aren’t necessarily Common Core-aligned.
  • Projects typically are more time consuming than our activities.

If none of those things matter to you, then Projects and Activities are very similar, and you can use them interchangeably!

2. Are there answer keys?

But of course. As always, email Jessica (jessica@nextgenpersonalfinance.org) to request answer keys to our projects. If you’ve already requested them for a previous resource, take a look at that same spreadsheet; projects have now been added. MAGIC!

Keep in mind, our projects are QUITE open-ended and rarely have one correct set of answers. The answer keys are meant as samples of what we’d imagine student work to look like or include, but your students will surely surprise you with their own creativity.

3. My school/state doesn’t do Common Core. Does that mean these won’t work for me?

First and foremost, we’ve tried to design projects that are meaningful, real-world, open-ended, challenging, creative, and fun for students. After writing a project, we comb the Common Core Anchor Standards (that way, they’re good across grade levels) and select the ones featured in the project. Why? We know a lot of schools and a lot of teachers are under a lot of pressure to integrate CC, and our combing through the standards takes one thing off your busy plates. We hope it helps. And, if your school doesn’t do Common Core, just ignore that box and enjoy the project for what it is — an awesome addition to your curriculum.

4. It would be great if these were aligned to the _______ Standards instead.

Ah, yes. Standards, standards, everywhere. Some of you teach a unique elective. Some of you teach a small portion of personal finance within your economics class. Some of you have state standards for financial literacy, while many have none. If there were a universal set of personal finance standards we could all agree upon, we’d align to that, for sure. If you feel passionately about a certain set of standards, shoot us an email and let us know. We’d love to hear about it.

5. This project is perfect, but I’d like to change ONE thing…

As always, you can customize the Google doc versions of our projects by opening the document on your computer and doing one of the following:

  • Click “File” and “Make a copy…” if you have a Google account or
  • Click “File” and “Download as…” if you want to save the document in Microsoft Office.

Then, your copy of the project will be editable while our master copy remains in original condition for everyone to use.

6. When will you have projects for the other units?

The projects take a long time to craft, so we’re missing some units and lessons. If there’s one you’d like to see us tackle next, let us know! No guarantees on time frame, but we’d appreciate knowing where to prioritize.

7. Where do I find the Project Bank?

Seriously, why aren’t you there yet? On our website! or on Gooru! Or, read on for…

 

Jessica’s 6 Tips for the Project Bank

  1. Don’t assign a project for every single lesson — If you try to rush them, students won’t get to slow down and enjoy their learning.
  2. Be sure to preview the project before assigning it so you can anticipate where your specific students will need support.
  3. Consider your grading workload! We leave these projects very open-ended, because we believe that’s how students connect to the content; however, we don’t have to grade 25, 65, 105 projects! If our project says, “Pick any five stocks,” you may want to change it to “Pick two of the following five” or have your students use the same 5 companies we use in our Answer Key. Less choice on their end, but less work for you.
  4. Check the “Internet Usage” note at the top left of each project document. Here’s what it means:
    1. None – No internet needed
    2. Optional – We link to a website or two, but you could print those out (or show a video whole-group) to make the project do-able without internet
    3. Required – Students need to do their own web research. It may not be feasible for you to assign this project if students can’t get online
  5. Perhaps start with my favorite projects:
    1. Build a Basic Budget Spreadsheet – because — I admit it — I LOVE spreadsheets
    2. Joining the Market – because it’s a fun, whole class game about buying & selling shares in my fake restaurant, Ravioli Den
    3. Create a Marketing Campaign – because students work in teams to simultaneously prove their understanding of checking accounts and be creative in multiple media
  6. Try one soon! They’re awesome!

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.