Instruction for Teachers and Educators
This introduction is set up to assist teachers and educators in understanding the organizations of businesses. It assumes you are already familiar with Personal Finance of the ConsumerMath.org curriculum. If not, you will need to review.
The major difference between Personal Finance and Business Finance is the organization of companies. In Personal Finance students sought out bills to pay on a weekly basis. In Business Finance, students will organize into companies. They will sell their products to each other. For example, a student who wants to lower his rent will go to the real-estate companies in the class to find a better place to live. When they pay their weekly bills, they will write the checks as pay to the order of the company from which they are renting. The company will keep track of all income, and employees will be able to receive bonuses based on how much money they make. The software will track all company finances including payroll.
The weekly schedule will generally follow the following pattern, based on 5 sessions, lasting approximately 1 hour. Adjustments may need to be made for your individual situation.
- Day 1: Introduce topic, give assignment and distribute the project.
- Day 2: Grade/Review assignment in class, assign project and review questions.
- Day 3: Students work on projects.
- Day 4: Projects are completed and presented. Timecards are due
- Day 5: Students pay bills and manage company assets. Companies can sell product and make adjustments to their customer base.
In a typical class, there are 5 products to sell, or 5 different types of companies:
- Real-estate: Includes rent and utilities or any other living arrangments
- Automotive: Includes Gas and Maintenance on Vehicles
- Food: Daily menu items for weekly grocery bills
- Insurance: They will administer the Auto and Medical insurance.
- Miscellaneous: Department store purchases such as clothing, hygiene, home supplies
- Bank: The Bank is managed by the instructor, and depending on class size and availability, the Bank may hire 1-2 employees to assist in maintaining financial records. The Bank employees don’t receive bonuses from income, and generally have a higher hourly rate.
Each company should have a competitor resulting in 10 companies for the class
A company will have between 4 and 6 students. It is important that starting out each company is relatively equal in numbers, as bonuses are paid from company income. A smaller company will have a high % of income to divide. In the event that a company does really well, you will want to require them to hire students from the losing company as part of a “Takeover”.
The instructor manages the bank, and will likely have 2-3 students in that company to ensure financial information is entered accurately.
A typical company has the following staffing requirements:
- Manager: The Manager makes assignments to the company, ensures all company information is maintained correctly. Will attend periodic training seminars with the instructor.
- 1 Assistant Manager (AM): The AM will preside when the Manager is absent. They provide instruction to employees on personal finance and ensures that no employee is going into personal debt.
- 1 Secretary: They maintain attendance and financial records of the company.
- 3 Employees: Employees performs in whatever capacity is required by the company. Generally the employees are new students, or students who are still struggling with personal finances.
Assignments generally follow into these three areas:
- Basic Skills: These assignments cover the basic math skills and provide practice of these skills using a traditional repetitive worksheet.
- Practice: Practice assignments are used to practice applying the Consumer Math skills in various real life scenarios.
- Projects: All units have a project assigned. It is recommended that these projects be completed as a business. The expectations can be much higher, and students can capitalize on the skills and resources from all students. Payment for projects is paid directly to the company, and Managers can dispense payments appropriately. The software will track all company finances.
Projects are the capstone of learning, where students can demonstrate through writing and reporting that the skills have been learned as they use the skills to modify their own expenses.
Math Skills Being Utilized
A list of applicable math skills and standards are listed.
Attendance and discussion are a major part of the course work. 1 day of attendance for a typical 5 day class schedule will equate to 40 hours of hourly pay. Students are paid according to their attendance and participation. Poor attendance or participation can result in loss of job, and thus loss of pay. Basic Skills and Practice Assignments are given specific dollar amounts, typically between $10 and $20 per week based on a minimum wage. Projects can be worth more; as much as $500, but there is much flexibility in how teachers want to grade or what bonus money they wish to make available. In the end, students will purchase their grades based on who has the most money.
Friday’s are the day to pay bills. For the first couple of weeks, this may take all period. As students are more familiar with paying bills, Fridays become free to other activities. Gambling, lotteries, stock markets, getting sick, layoffs, and other activities are set up and can be used at the teacher’s discretion to enhance learning and provide opportunities to discuss the temptations that people have to waste money in pursuits that may cost them in the end.
The objective of this class is to prepare students for life through the application of mathematical concepts. This is where they get the answer to the question, “When will I ever use this?” Spend time answering questions and reviewing current events as related to finances. This class should be fun. Help them enjoy it.