With essential curriculum to teach in addition to computer skills, teachers have to be creative and resourceful to ‘get it all done’. Then to ensure that students are engaged and interested adds another level of challenge!
TechnoBudget is a new release by TechnoKids Inc. created to meet all three objectives:
- Teach fundamental mathematics expectations
- Build spreadsheet skills
- Hook students with meaningful, real world learning experiences
The activities in TechnoBudget develop financial literacy using a scenario that is understandable for young people. The project begins with students receiving an unexpected windfall for which they must create a budget. The budget must fall within specific restrictions. A pie graph is made to graphically depict the budget. Next, students go on a shopping spree using online resources. They organize, calculate, and graph the shopping plan. Finally, they write a report to justify their financial choices and share insights about money management.
Teach Fundamental Mathematics Expectations
- Problem Solving
TechnoBudget follows a problem solving model. As they make their budgets and spending plans, students must apply critical thinking to organize their ideas, research purchasing options, compare choices, reflect upon their plan, and defend their reasoning. The report they write to justify their financial choices is the final communication step that reviews and explains how the solution was reached.
Data management and probability is a core strand in the Mathematics curriculum. Students learn about gathering, organizing, and displaying data. When these learning expectations are applied to a real-life situation such as budgeting, shopping, and making a spending plan, students are much more likely to acquire the skills and understand their relevance.
- Money Management and Financial Literacy
Children are consumers long before we teach them to be thoughtful, wise, and discriminating consumers. Giving them the skills to make good decisions about their spending and saving is essential. The math curriculum should include learning how to manage money responsibly. TechnoBudget begins with an activity where students gain insight into their own values and spending practices. They rate their habits to find out “Are you a spender or a saver?” As they design their own budget, following required restrictions, they build skills to make educated financial decisions. Optional extension activities include comparison shopping, consumer awareness, using a spreadsheet to calculate interest payments, and more.
Build Spreadsheet Skills
As students create the budget, spending plan, and write their financial report, they develop fundamental spreadsheet skills, including:
- create and manage workbooks
- insert, select, and format cells, rows, columns, and ranges
- use Auto Fill to fill cells with a data series
- produce, format, and label a pie and bar graph
- use formulas and functions
Hook students with meaningful, real world learning experiences
Designing a budget is a real world experience, not to mention an essential life skill. Receiving an unexpected windfall of money appeals to anyone and engages students. And getting to plan a shopping spree in TechnoBudget will hook even the most reluctant learner!