Spring; Grades 11–12
Prerequisite: Algebra 2 (any level)
Taught by: Severn School
This one-semester course will provide students a mathematical and conceptual framework with which to make important personal financial decisions using algebraic tools. Specifically, the class will investigate i) the time value of money (i.e., interest rates, compounding, saving and borrowing) using exponential functions; and ii) the characteristics and risk/reward tradeoff of different financial instruments/investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, using algebra, probability, and statistics. Other financial algebra topics selected with student input may include financial accounting, depreciation methods, and foreign currency exchange.
The course will stress use of the TI-83/84 calculator, Excel spreadsheets, and iPad apps. Students should be comfortable with exponential growth models and, preferably, the concept of the number e for continuous compounding. They should be willing to exhibit an interest in mathematical reasoning and display a hefty dose of curiosity about the language and problem-solving nature of personal finance.