Curriculum Insider: Deep Dive Into The Middle School Money In Our Lives Unit
Before diving into core personal finance content, it's always helpful for students to first examine their relationship with money and the factors that influence their personal finance decisions. That's why NGPF's Middle School Course kicks off with a foundational unit called Money in Our Lives.
This unit is unique in that it's the only unit in the course that has THREE lessons (all the other units in the course have five each). This is because the unit is meant to lay a strong foundation for the rest of the course. Through Money in Our Lives, students examine the following questions:
- What is my relationship with money? How do my beliefs, values, and behaviors around money influence my financial decisions?
- What tradeoffs do I weigh with every financial decision I make? How can I use this evaluation to my advantage to make financial decisions that align with my values and goals?
- What do I want my future life to look like? What role do my personal finances play in realizing this vision?
With this in mind, let's take a deeper look into a specific resource within each of these three lessons. Continue reading below!
SPOTLIGHT ON INTERACTIVE: What Kind of Spender Are You?
This quick, 5-question quiz gets students thinking about their behaviors around money. At the end, students see what their "money personality" is based on their results! This can lead to some great reflection and discussion as to what the strengths and weaknesses of every money personality is and how having an awareness of their personality can empower students to make wise money decisions in the future.
SPOTLIGHT ON MATH: Calculating the Tradeoffs
After exploring what kinds of tradeoffs one might have to weigh in their financial decisions, students apply what they've learned in this fun math activity (yes, it's fun!). Students are presented with three hypothetical scenarios and must calculate the financial tradeoffs and reflect on the emotional tradeoffs the people in these scenarios face. Many of the reflections questions are designed to encourage discussion as they do not have one right answer.
SPOTLIGHT ON PROJECT: Envision Your Future Life
One of teachers' favorite projects in the entire Middle School Course is PROJECT: Envision Your Future Life. The purpose of this project is to have students imagine themselves as a 25-year old and think about what they would want their lives to look like at that point. Students reflect on different areas of their lives such as family, education, lifestyle, and more. They can then create a vision board, slide deck, or video as a final product to depict their vision. As they continue through the rest of the course, students can relate the content back to their envisioned lives and reflect on how what they just learned can help make that vision a reality.
We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the Money in Our Lives unit from NGPF's Middle School Course. To explore full Middle School Units, Lesson Plans, and more, check out NGPF's FREE 9-Week Middle School Personal Finance Course and FREE Middle School Nearpod Collection!
About the Authors
Sonia has always been passionate about instruction and improving students' learning experiences. She's come a long way since her days as a first grader, when she would "teach" music and read to her very attentive stuffed animals after school. Since then, she has taught students as a K-12 tutor, worked in several EdTech startups in the Bay Area, and completed her Ed.M in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about bringing the high quality personal finance content and instruction she wished she'd received in school to the next generation of students and educators. When she isn't crafting lesson guides or working with teachers, Sonia loves to spend her time singing, being outdoors, and adventuring with family and friends!
Christian comes to NGPF from the world of classroom instruction, where he was a teacher for three years at a public middle school in El Sobrante, California. After leaving the classroom, he joined math tutoring company, Zeal Learning, to help grow their educator-facing sales and marketing efforts. He's no stranger to making a dollar stretch - while living in the Bay Area on his teacher salary he paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years. He's thrilled to share those lessons with teachers and students around the U.S.
To get access to NGPF answer keys, assessments, and teacher-only resources: create a FREE Teacher Account