The Mathematics Behind Life Decisions

  • Learning
Abigail Simpson, Middle Grades Math Teacher

Middle grades students could be found studying bank statements, comparing credit cards and deciphering paycheck stubs in a Winter Seminar class that was all about taking a deep dive into the very real, everyday world of math: financial literacy. Throughout the week, students explored important life skills such as opening a bank account, using credit, having the finances to live on your own, understanding a rental agreement and saving and investing for the long term.

Practical math winter seminar
Practical math winter seminar

Students also welcomed a few guest speakers including Avenues parents and a member of our human resources team. These speakers imparted their knowledge on the power of compound interest, risk versus reward and the fine points of a paycheck, including pre-tax deductions like health benefits and retirement savings. During a presentation by Becca Howlett, director of talent at Avenues, on the anatomy of a paycheck, students were blown away by the costs of health insurance and the differences in gross pay versus net income. 

Practical math winter seminar
Practical math winter seminar
Practical math winter seminar

Students also spent the week exploring a topic of their choice in greater depth, researching in small groups, using the guests as additional resources and preparing a presentation for a parent audience on Friday. One 8th grader, Jonathan, devoted his time to exploring the visual representation of compound interest, creating a graph and exploring the line's slope and how it relates to an exponential growth function. Another group did a presentation on the importance of teaching financial literacy in schools. 

Practical math winter seminar
Practical math winter seminar

At the end of the five days, several students were left wondering why a class like this doesn’t already exist for all. Indeed, it is information that everyone will need to understand in their young adult and adult life – talk about practical applications of math!

Practical math winter seminar
Practical math winter seminar

 

  • 6th Grade
  • 7th Grade
  • 8th Grade
  • Math
  • mathematics
  • Middle Grades Program
  • Upper Division
  • Winter Seminar