Mar 19, 2023

Students on the MOVE in Financial Algebra

Why teach math from a boring textbook when you can do so much more, like having students up, out of their seats with NGPF MOVE activities in Financial Algebra? 

If we zoom into Unit 6 of Financial Algebra, the focus is on Investing Strategies (the personal finance content) & Exponential Functions (the math learning). Lesson 6.1 Investing in Funds is one of my favorites because you jump into the lesson with an intro about jellybeans. Who doesn't love jellybeans? But then comes MOVE: Let's Make a Mutual Fund

Each student is given a card with a company in the Dow Jones, and they move around the room, forming groups to make small and then larger mutual funds. They're diversifying their portfolio through movement, and it's powerful to get students away from screens sometimes. This is a perennial fav among students, teachers, and NGPF team members. Once the MOVE activity is finished, a little later on in the lesson students are instructed to review how the S&P 500 is performing that day using the interactive map from FinViz. By lesson's end, your high school math students will be able to answer: 

Sound investing advice also recommends you create a diversified portfolio. Buying an index fund, such as one tracked to the S&P 500, is one way to diversify. What specific data from this interactive supports the idea that a fund with all 500 of these companies is better than selecting just a few?

How powerful and practical is that? 

The very next lesson, FA-6.2 Types of Funds, features a second MOVE activity -- this time a scavenger hunt following clues around the room. 


MOVE: Follow the Funds is the perfect example of how NGPF's Financial Algebra Course blends personal finance (in this case, different types of investment funds) with algebra content (exponential equations). Some questions ask students to perform math skills while others have them differentiate between Exchange Traded Funds and Target Date Funds. It's fun, it's a race against the clock, and it's putting math into practice thinking about the growth or decline of investment accounts. 

Right after completing the MOVE activity in lesson 2, students engage with a DESMOS entitled Comparing Funds Using Compound Annual Growth Rate

We think MOVE activities, interactive websites such as FinViz, and Desmos classroom activities are the best way to spice up a Financial Algebra course with the right blend of standard math content, real-world important finance knowledge, and outstanding engagement. 


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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