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Brewster High School Students Learn Lessons on Personal Finances

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A book club is not the first thing you think about when you hear the words “math class,” but Dr. Rebecca Greenfeld’s personal finance students at Brewster High School recently participated in just that.

After taking a course hosted by Next Generation Personal Finance (NGPF) over the summer that touched on the need to teach students about personal finance and its link to psychology, Dr. Greenfeld received a grant for a free class set of the book Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. The book includes 19 short stories that investigate how people think about money.

“In my last class survey, students indicated that they want to hear more money stories,” Greenfeld said. “I think it helps make the concepts real. There is a certain level of comfort knowing others have had similar experiences — positive or negative. My hope is that some of the quotes and stories will resonate with my students.”

The book club came in the form of a choice-based collaborative project that incorporated both individual and group learning.

First, students read a minimum of four to six chapters of the book in a way that best suited their learning style. They could read the paperback, read it electronically via a PDF or listen to it.

Students filled out a slideshow page that corresponded with their chapters and then created a poster for three of the chapters in a collaborative group within their class. Next, students did a carousel activity, moving around the room to view important facts about the other chapters. Lastly, they completed their slideshow with the information they learned from their peers.

Throughout the process, Greenfeld interjected math-related formulas and applications so students could see the connection between “school math” and “real-world math.”

“This project continues our skills of goal setting, making choices, working independently and together, and accountability,” Greenfeld said. “The book covers every topic and standard we cover in class but from a different perspective.”

Student feedback on the book club was positive.

“After reading this book, I know there are multiple ways to save money,” one student said. “It changes my whole view on how to be financially successful in the future.”

“The book was very informative and easy to read,” another student said. “I appreciated how the lessons were followed up by real examples and applied to situations which could be easily related to. This made the lessons memorable and also more useful.”


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