Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No more repetition in math class

Before, I used to teach finance in the following way:

Hand out a notes page, where the students would follow along and we would answer various questions.  I would use charts, usually years old, and students would fill in answers I completed on the board.
This year, I took an extremely different approach.  I handed out my finance project:

I no longer required my students to calculate the mortgage by hand, or by using a chart, but allowed them to determine the payment how most citizens would; using a program.

The students completed the project entirely using the Internet.  By booking a computer lab, and bringing laptops into the class, students became extremely engaged in the project.  After completing the sheet, they were required to create a presentation on their information.
Usually, when a student completes an assigned task they are assigned more of the same type of concept they just completed. (Which usually results in DRILL AND KILL). I took a different approach by assigning an entirely new task.  When students completed the original task, I asked them to develop a budget for one month's spending, including their calculated mortgage payment.
The learning amazed me.  In one instant, I had a student working on an excel sheet, which is a concept I plan on covering in two days.  Other students were learning the difference between an open and closed mortgage; an outcome not required by the course. 

Not once did I hear "When am I going to use this?" When students were having troubles they started researching all on their own.  As I walked around the computer lab, I witnessed students on electricity websites, cell phone plans, cable companies, and other various utility websites.
Some students completed the extended tasks, and then analyzed if their "dream job" would cover their monthly expenses.  Here are two of the presentations I received: 

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. I'm in the middle of a similar project in my Consumer Math class. I used to have them calculate the mortgage out by hand and build an excel sheet to do all the calculations. No more, now they are doing it as I did when looking for a house, went online to find a calculator. Nice work.