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Money Math for Middle School Students

Curriculum for middle school math classes (grades 7-9)

Money Math: Lessons for Life is a four-lesson curriculum supplement for middle school math classes, teaching grade 7-9 math concepts using real-life examples from personal finance.

Free to teachers, the curriculum was developed by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in accordance with national school mathematics standards. It consists of an 86-page teacher's guide with lesson plans, reproducible activity pages, and teaching tips. You only need one copy to teach several classes of students. And you don't need to be an expert in personal finance—questions and answers are clearly provided in the book

The curriculum is distributed by the U.S. Treasury Department and endorsed by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

» Go to the Money Math: Lessons for Life website1 to get the complete curriculum.

What's inside?

You can also get each of the four lessons individually. Here are the descriptions to help you select the right one:

Introduction and Correlations

See how the curriculum measures up to the National K-12 Personal Finance Standards and NCTM Principles and Standards of Mathematics.

The Secret to Becoming a Millionaire—Lesson 1

Students learn how saving helps people become wealthy. They develop "rules to become a millionaire" as they work through a series of exercises, learning that it is important to: (1) save early and often, (2) save as much as possible, (3) earn compound interest, (4) try to earn a high interest rate, (5) leave deposits and interest earned in the account as long as possible, and (6) choose accounts for which interest is compounded often. This lesson assumes that students have worked with percents and decimal equivalents.

Wallpaper Woes—Lesson 2

Students hear a story about Tom, a middle-school student who wants to redecorate his bedroom. They measure the classroom wall dimensions, draw a scale model, and incorporate measurements for windows and doors to determine the area that could be covered by wallpaper. Students then hear more about Tom’s redecorating adventure, learning about expenses, budget constraints, and trade-offs. For assessment, students measure their rooms at home. This lesson requires that students know how to measure, or a review may be necessary before teaching.

Math and Taxes: A Pair to Count On—Lesson 3

Students examine careers and reflect on how workers use math in their occupations. They study selected occupations, learning about the work skills (human capital) that different workers possess and salaries that those workers earn. Next, students learn about how taxes are paid on income that people earn and how income tax is calculated. They learn how the progressive federal income tax is based on the ability-to-pay principle.

Spreading the Budget—Lesson 4

Students develop a budget for a college student, using a spreadsheet. They examine the student’s fixed, variable, and periodic expenses and revise to adjust for cash flow problems that appear on the first spreadsheet. This lesson is designed to increase student awareness and appreciation of the efficiency of using computer technology in math applications.

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