Exponential Functions Project - Life After College Budget

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Exponential Functions and Their Applications to Financial Situations
Life After College Budget Project

This project is one of the best things that I do. I have used it for several years and it has undergone several revisions. I use it primarily with my Pre-Calculus students but have used it with Algebra 2 with very good results. A co-worker, Dave Roberston also a TPT contributor, created a spreadsheet for making the grading easy to do- I have this available for download as well but could not attach it to the project.

Using the Common Core Standards, I would say that F-LE-3,4, and 5 are addressed as well as N-RN, N-Q. Certainly mathematical modeling is a strong component of the project.
Many students and their parents have commented that they LOVE this project and that it impacted many decisions that the students made regarding their future.
When you purchase this project/activity you will download all needed documents including:
• The Tim and Tom exploration
• Step One - the research component
• The Life After College Budget Project

I start the unit with an activity called Tim and Tom. This is an exploration of the impact of saving money in an annuity and savings account and the benefits of starting early. Students are generally very surprised by the outcome and there is a lot of good “buzz” in the class as they reach the results. This activity and the associated questions and problems take a little less than 1 traditional class period.

After discussing the results, I hand out Step One of the budget project and give them a weekend or so to do some research and to discuss with their parents some of the aspects of this budget.
• Students are to do some research on colleges, expenses, scholarships, what parents have saved up and what will they need to take out in loans in order to pay for the degree that they hope to attain. This should include any grad school.
• Students are to do some research on occupations – websites are provided.
• Students are to discuss with their parents or do a search for the costs associated with living on their own after college, a list is provided.
• Students are to research a car that they would realistically like to purchase upon graduation – websites suggested.
• Students are to research a home that they would like to purchase within a few years of graduation: website suggested but could be customized to local agencies if desired.

After the research is completed, I assign The Life After College Budget Project. I usually give them about a week on their own time to complete it. Formulas are provided. Numbered blanks are provided on the project to indicate where a number is to be placed on the spreadsheet for grading purposes.
Total Pages
19 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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