What are Woodrow Wilson Fellows doing in the STEM Classrooms?
Get a Job! A Consumer Math Project at Firestone
WW Fellows: Heather Stoll and Jenny Walls
“Get a Job!” is a year-long project, modeled after the Project Based Learning approach, for seniors enrolled in the Financial Decision Making in Mathematics course at Firestone High School. Students will practice managing personal financial skills in real-world situations. Students will also learn 21st Century Skills through the use of the internet, Web 2.0 tools, and Excel to manage their monthly budgets.
Initially, students brainstormed different professions. They listed jobs that they have held, want to hold, or ones that they found interesting. The list of jobs ranged from a server to a firefighter to an anesthesiologist. Students drew slips of paper at random listing those jobs, the annual salary, and an hourly rate. They are paid for the time they are in school. After studying income, students computed their bi-weekly gross pay, including overtime, and used their earnings to buy treats.
After learning about Federal and State income taxes, Social Security and Medicare, students generated a time sheet and a paycheck stub calculating their net pay using Excel. They were quite surprised to see the difference between their first and second paychecks, emphasizing the difference between gross and net pay.
As we continue into the semester, students will select roommates, create a household budget, investigate banking and credit card accounts, invest their money in the stock market, and make major purchases such as cars and houses. Students will also learn to complete federal and tax forms such as a 1040-EZ. We will also bring in guest speakers from local banking institutions as well as individuals to help students with job interviewing. The project is a great addition to our curriculum and students are learning and having fun!