Curriculum Insider: Top 5 Teacher Favorite Middle School Lessons
The NGPF Middle School Course was fully released in August 2020, and since then, we've heard from many teachers which lessons they've loved to used with their students. Whether you've already used a few lessons or you're just getting familiar with the course, we hope this list of teacher favorites will help you find your next favorite lesson in the course!
This lesson, found in Unit 1: Money in Our Lives, has repeatedly come up amongst teachers for the core project students do. Students reflect on how they want various aspects of their future lives to look like and choose to create a vision board, slide deck, or a video as a final product. It's a great product for them to revisit as they progress through the rest of the course and connect whatever they're learning to the lives they've envisioned for themselves.
This lesson focuses on one of the core foundations of budgeting - needs vs. wants - and has students play the popular Bean Game! Students are given "income" in beans (we've also heard teachers use jelly beans, buttons, etc.) and have to choose how to spend them across various categories in their budget!
This teacher favorite has students first learn about the stock market and trends such as a bull market vs a bear market. Next, they use an interactive from FinViz that visually depicts the S&P 500. There's something about being able to see how various companies are organized across industries and sectors that elicits that light-bulb moment among students. Check it out for yourself in MS-6.2!
In a time of remote learning and being on our screens more than ever before, being a responsible digital citizen has never been more important! Countless educators have used this lesson to kickstart or extend a digital citizenship unit they're using with students. Check out this video by Common Sense Media that features teens and how they view their digital footprint!
Numerous research studies have shown that members of Gen Z (those born in the late 1990s to early 2010s), while skilled in technology and other tools, may need a little bit of work on developing their soft skills as they enter the workforce. Enter, the soft skills middle school lesson! After learning about how hard skills are different than soft skills, students learn more through this infographic that breaks down the importance of soft skills and why we shouldn't overlook them before moving onto the core activity.
Check out all of the lessons above to discover additional resources that teachers love to use with their students! And of course, you can find even more lessons in the NGPF Middle School Course!
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.
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