By Stephanie Holzwarth
As math teachers, we are all too familiar with the dreaded but fair student question, “Why do I need to know this?”
Oftentimes, the math concepts we teach feel abstract and procedural. It can be difficult to articulate how mathematical thinking applies to the real world, but we know that igniting a passion for math can create incredible future opportunities for our students with high-income STEM job growth on the rise.
As teachers, we inspire students every day, but the responsibility of cultivating an interest and confidence in mathematical thinking cannot be placed solely on teachers. Our communities are full of professionals in various sectors who share a passion for math, and who can come together to inspire our youth. In Kentucky, there are several organizations that have stepped forward to say they want to be part of the solution.
Coach Calipari’s Family Foundation, the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Neustar, BB&T and dozens of community banks have funded engaging EverFi digital resources that Kentucky teachers can access at no cost. Yes, that means free for all Kentucky schools to use.
These sponsored EverFi web-based resources are already being used by more than 300 Kentucky schools statewide to help connect academic concepts to 21st century critical life skills. The topics include basic financial education, career preparedness and basic computer science concepts.
The supplemental blended learning resources are real-world themed – think sports and secret agent missions – align to Kentucky’s Academic Standards, include embedded standards-aligned assessments and expose students to exciting STEM careers. The best part of all is that students really enjoy them!
Below is a quick summary of the available math-focused resources. This list includes some, but not all, of the critical skills resources that EverFi offers to Kentucky schools.
Vault – Understanding MoneyTM
Recommended for grade levels 4-6
Empower students to be smart financial decision-makers early in their cognitive development. Students help an alien live by a budget and discover how impulse buying can impact their savings. By leveraging performance-based games, Vault immerses students in real-life financial scenarios that focus on skill building and responsible decision-making, covering everything from understanding needs vs. wants to making a budget.
Future Goals – Hockey ScholarTM
Recommended for grade levels 4-7
Bring math, engineering, technology and science concepts to life through the exciting, fast-paced game of hockey. Through immersive real-life simulations, students build their understanding of fundamental STEM concepts such as geometric constructions, energy and forces. Each module is designed to build inquiry-based thinking and student problem-solving skills.
Recommended for grade levels 6-8
Empower students to become the stewards of their financial futures. This course educates students on the practicalities of daily financial decisions and the payoffs of long-term planning. From weighing opportunity costs to delaying instant gratification for long-term gain, students face important questions on their way to becoming FutureSmartTM.
Radius – Math & CodingTM
Recommended for grade levels 7-11
Students act as secret agents attempting to deliver a secret package to the White House as they master math, science and engineering topics such as binary numbers, scientific notation, Pythagorean theorem and probability. This resource allows students to build the mathematical foundation needed to understand real-world math applications such repairing a bridge with linear equations, then automating the process with html coding. Every mission exposes students to more exciting career opportunities in the growing STEM industry.
EverFi – Financial LiteracyTM
Recommended for grade levels 9-12
Build the foundation for future financial well-being. This digital course covers core financial topics including everything from common account types to the basics of investing. Students will write a check, complete a 1040EZ tax form, visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and practice filling out a digital FAFSA form. Students are able to apply their learning in safe, virtual environments to weigh the consequences of their choices and practice good decision-making.
Getting started on these free EverFi resources is very simple and takes no more than 5-10 minutes.
Teachers: Watch this short video or follow the Quick Start Guide on the KDE EverFi Resources Page and you will have all you need to get students started. For help, to refer another teacher at your school or for more information you also can contact your local schools manager.
District Leaders: You can complete this form to request a report of the schools in your district already using EverFi and/or to schedule an informational meeting or free professional development.
EverFi is committed to bringing exciting critical skills education to K-12 students at no-cost. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me, EverFi’s Kentucky senior partnerships manager, at (615) 379-8365 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Holzwarth is a former Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools math teacher, married to an engineer and a math nerd for life. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Hope College and earned her master’s in instructional practice from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. Holzwarth manages EverFi partnerships across the state of Kentucky and leads the team of three schools managers – all former teachers – who provide professional development and support for Kentucky teachers.