Title: Sweet Sixteen Cash Investment

Author(s): Barbara Assenmacher and Kelly Vandeginste, Monroe Public Schools

Subject Area: Algebra

Topic: Comparing linear, exponential, and quadratic models

HSCEs: L1.1.5, L1.2.4, L2.1.2, A1.1.1, A1.2.1, A2.1.2, A2.1.3, A2.1.7, A2.3.1, A2.3.2, A2.4.1, A2.4.2, A2.4.3, A3.1.1, A3.1.2, A3.1.1, A3.2.5, A3.3.1


This activity is designed to last 5 days. Students will explore three investment proposals for money received on their sixteenth birthday. They will have to analyze the propsals to ensure that they choose the proposal that will best meet their future needs.


Tags: algebra, comparison, exponential, linear, models, quadratic

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This investment lesson really helps students see the difference between constant rate of change and compound rate of change in a context that is familiar to them.  Most kids get money at some time throughout the year whether it’s on their birthday or on another holiday.  Students need to see how saving their money in various ways can help them with their future goals.  I like the choices that you have presented students with: getting $25 more each year, getting 4% annual growth and getting $250 each year.  Students need to evaluate each scenario and determine which proposal they would choose.  It may be your intension to do so in your teachings, but I would also have students determine how realistic each choice would be.  Students may have different goals such as buying a car or house, or saving for college or retirement.  Students can reason whether each proposal should be used for life’s various aspirations.  Students could determine whether each proposal would be best for a specific goal.  Students would discover that the best plan in the long run may not be the best plan for getting a new car or paying for college.  I plan to integrate this 5-day lesson into my Algebra I class.  Another extension to this lesson would be for students to describe three unique proposals similar to the ones you provided (increased amount each year, annual growth, and same amount each year) that for a given number of years the savings would be the same.  Students could design their own scenario for fellow classmates to evaluate.  Thank you for sharing your lesson.

I am a special ed teacher in the middle school level.  I like the lesson and would try to adapt it some for the struggling student.

My changes to the lesson adapted from:  http://a4a.learnport.org/forum/topics/sweet-sixteen-cash-investment

I changed the title to reflect my students’ grades and hopefully age group.  I changed the You Tube cite because the other didn’t bring up a teen ager having a birthday party.

I will keep the letter from the bank as is. Even though the amount of birthday money seems to unrealistic for the students I serve, I will keep the sum because it will help to make the problem more interesting.

Added a link to give directions/clues on how to go about solving the problem. Discovering Growth Patterns

I changed the strands and G.L.C.E. to reflect my student’s grades.

Students will need a laptop for each group to be able to access the links. Teac her will group students strategically, so the struggling learners will have strong partners.

Attachments:  A partial summary will be prepared for the struggling writers.  They will have to fill in the blanks for major ideas connected to the summaries. Also, a template of the parts of a letter will be provided for all students.

This is a nice lesson that compares the different function families.  It has a link to a video clip to introduce the lesson and a nice document that is ready to use.  This is definately something to look at.  As we transition to implementing the 8 mathematical practices I see Practice 1:  Make sense of problems and perserver in solving them; Practice 4: Model with mathematics and Practice 5: Use appropriate tools strategically.

Thanks for sharing this lesson!


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