Alg2 – Investment Project part 2 – student work & feedback

Yesterday, I blogged the particulars of this project, including the documents I used with students.  If you haven’t looked at that yet, I suggest giving it a quick once over to get some background for this post.  Today I share some student work &  their feedback.  I’ve decided to leave my reflections for part 3 as this blog post got really long!  In the words of Samuel L. Jackson in the original Jurassic Park, “hold on to your butts!”

Student Work:

I wish I had exemplars when the project started to share with the students.  Alas, since it was my first time doing this project, I had nothing; so, I gave fairly detailed instructions (like a checklist), yet also tried to leave room for student ideas and inspiration.  Students completed a notes page of their initial findings, 3 journal writes, predictions of a 1-time investment, predictions when contributions continue, a presentation, and a 3 page-ish summary/review.  For the final paper, each cohort group brainstormed what should be in the presentation and I added it to our class webpages.  They were assessed on whether or not they included the things that we decided as a class should be there.  As a reminder, here is the rubric.  After the project was completed, I shared exemplar work with the students so they could see top level work. This was powerful. I’m so excited I have this in place for next year!

Journal Day 1: Students were to reflect on their investing and the MV Mindset of Ethical Decision Maker.  This is the final paragraph of a student who earned a top grade on the journal.  You can read her entire journal here.

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Journal Day 2:  One student did a video journal instead of a written journal.  It was incredible! I loved that students knew they could step outside of the box.  She probably reflected more in that video journal than anyone did in writing.

Investment Prediction Contributions Continue: Students had to do predictions of one time investments and if they added a total of $1,000/year.  They could determine how to split the $1,000/yr between their 3 funds. These predictions when contributions continue are much more complicated and most students used recursion on their calculator.  This is one of the top pieces of student work.  Here is  snippet of what the student submitted.

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Presentation:  There were many students that rocked the presentation part of the project, both with their content and their presentation skills.  Students were excellent at engaging the audience and using humor.  This presentation stood out for many reasons (you can see the whole presentation here.)

First, look at this slide where the girls put their comparisons on one slide, color coded it, and had the formula in the top right corner.  This was an excellent use of a graph that immediately gave a visual of their results.

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The next two slides were hysterical and, again, you knew exactly what was being communicated by the use of graphs.

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Investment Paper:  This was many students least favorite part of the project.  Many thought it was not necessary.  A few actually enjoyed this part and saw their work coming together.  I do think it was important because of the necessity to summarize their learning.  The paper that was the biggest standout used a lot of graphs and charts well, not just for the sake of adding a graph/chart to take up room.  The student didn’t use MLA and I decided I didn’t care because he went so above and beyond in the layout and content of the paper.  It looked professional.  The entire paper is here.   I’m sharing his introduction, a chart, and his final reflection and feedback for me.  One student did her final paper as an infographic (same student who did the video journal), again, it was amazeballs!

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Student Self-Assessment: I had the students self-assess as the final piece of the project.  They filled out the rubric on themselves and had to defend why they should get the top grade in each category.  If they didn’t submit the rubric, they couldn’t get the highest marks. In general, students did a thorough job of self-assessment.  In 2 of my classes, all students ended up with a grade within 5 points of their self-assessment.  In 1 class, most were close, but there were a few that were way off.  For example, I had one student who didn’t answer any of the journal prompts, just described his work on the project.  He gave himself top marks on the journals and I assessed him at 0 on the journals.  He felt he should get something for the effort because he turned something in.  I disagreed and let him know that his answers to the prompts were similar to me asking a quadratic question on a test about projectile motion and his solution having nothing to do with that particular question.  That helped him seem to get it, but I still think he thought I was being petty.

I’m sharing some assessments where students thought they should get the highest grade and where they acknowledged it wasn’t their best work.

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Student Feedback and Reflections:

All but one student said this was a worthwhile project that should be repeated.  One of the most common comments was that they enjoyed doing math that was “real-world” based.  I pretty much hate that phrase, but that’s ok, I get their point, it was math they saw useful no matter what they were going to do in college and career.  They thought there were too many deliverables in too little time, they would have liked more time to complete the project or less deliverables if the time frame stayed the same.

I was absent one day due to an observation at another school.  Initially, I was stressed out about this, but then was grateful, which I’ll share more about in the next post.  The students were stressed and hated that I was gone one day.

Some individual comments:

  • There was too much writing for a math class
  • I liked how we combined math, literature, social studies, and economics
  • Originally, when we started this project, my main motive for trying so hard was for a good grade.  However, when I really started opening up my mind to this, I began to see I wanted to learn more about the world of finance and investments.  Therefore, the further along I got in this project, I found myself not thinking about the grade as much as I thought about my desire to learn more.  (Side note: Yeah, I got teary reading several of these! Teacher win!)
  • I believe that reflections are what help us grow because we can be learning great things, but if we don’t take time to reflect, it practically goes in one ear and out the other.  (This came from an iDiploma student.  I found the iD students were excellent at reflection.)
  • I would say the most enjoyable part of this project was finding out what to do with my money when given this freedom.  I enjoyed having (fake) responsibility to see what it was like to handle large amounts of money.
  • This project has completely changed my view on how to grow my money by teaching me about a new way to invest.
  • This project has taught me so much about how to invest my money, the most important of which probably being not to wait and start investing now because you can’t make up time, and in Mrs. Mathews’ words, “YOU WILL DIE!”
  • The most important thing I learned through all of this is to invest early and spend smart.
  • I feel like the majority of this was done at home and I wish I could have collaborated more with my partner face to face.
  • Reflection – while this wasn’t my favorite part of the project, I slowly began to understand the importance of reflecting.  At the end of the day it was nice to have that time to contemplate my daily work.  Reflecting really “cemented” the learning.
  • It is challenging for me to accept that some things are going to be confusing and that is ok to leave some things unknown.
  • While I did hear you when you emphasized on the importance of investing early, it was very different to actually see the large amount of money we would gain over fifty years.
  • My dad helped me with some of my confusion.  He showed me his portfolios and what he’s been investing in since before I was born. I’m so glad I asked him because if I didn’t and if he didn’t physically show me what it all means, I probably wouldn’t have understood the project as much as I did.

If you have made it this far, thank YOU! I’m so proud of my students and they gave me a lot of food for thought for next time!

Part 1 – the docs

Part 3 – my reflections


2 thoughts on “Alg2 – Investment Project part 2 – student work & feedback

  1. Pingback: Alg2 – Investment Project part 3 – My Reflections | romathio

  2. Pingback: Alg2 – Investment Project for Exponential Growth part 1 – the docs | romathio

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