Oct 30, 2022

Math Monday: Paying For College Doesn't Have to Be Scary!

It’s that time of year - the leaves are changing and the new FAFSA is out. This Halloween, explore three bewitching Desmos activities that will make paying for college a little less scary. 


DESMOS: OLS Regression and College Costs

In this interactive and visual activity, students build their conceptual understanding of HOW least-squares regression works using real-world data. 

First, students find the line of best fit for data on college sticker price vs net price. Using an interactive graph, students can visualize how the line of best fit will minimize the squared residuals. 


Next, students look at data on college acceptance rates and financial aid grants. They determine the line of best fit, analyze the r2 value, and explore non-linear regression models. 



DESMOS: Future Value of a Periodic Investment 

If you have extra funds, should you invest or pay down your student debt faster? In this activity, students use math to make that decision for Lin - a recent college graduate who has $150 to either make an additional student loan payment or invest. 



This activity practices defining variables and plugging values into a complex real-world formula. At the end, students will use their calculations to decide which option is best for Lin. 



DESMOS: Recursive Formulas: Paying Down Student Loans

Loan repayment is a great real-world example of a recursive formula in action. In this activity, students write a recursive formula to model student loan repayment. Then, they consider the advantages of using technology, like online loan calculators, when dealing with recursive formulas.



We hope you enjoyed these activities! You can find these and more in NGPF’s Desmos Collection!

About the Author

Kathryn Dawson

Kathryn (she/her) is excited to join the NGPF team after 9 years of experience in education as a mentor, tutor, and special education teacher. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in policy analysis and management and has a master's degree in education from Brooklyn College. Kathryn is looking forward to bringing her passion for accessibility and educational justice into curriculum design at NGPF. During her free time, Kathryn loves embarking on cooking projects, walking around her Seattle neighborhood with her partner and dog, or lounging in a hammock with a book.

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