‘Inquiry Into Saving’ is an assignment originally designed for MAT117, which is a course for students who have been placed in basic skills mathematics and who can apply a college level course in Algebra and Trigonometry to their program. These students should, ideally, be early in their LaGuardia career, though that is frequently not the case. All, however, are novices of mathematics. The assignment was vetted and revised based on feedback from the Inquiry and Problem Solving in STEM CTL seminar and a charrette not affiliated with the seminar. Revisions addressed connections to the Inquiry and Problem Solving/Written competency/ability pair, as well as general assignment design.
The ‘Inquiry Into Saving’ assignment is scaffolded into three parts. The first part is a brief reflection on investment goals; the second requires students to find information about investment options and use a provided formula to calculate how much they would need to invest to meet their goals; the third is a written piece that pulls the first two parts together into a rudimentary investment plan. The assignment draws on calculational topics from early in the semester (eg – linear equations), as well as later topics related to exponential functions and modeling. It also addresses effective use of calculators for ‘complex’ calculations.
Main Course Learning Objectives:
The following are addressed by Part 2 (Exploring Options) of the project:
- Introduce students to the concept of function and its application in modeling (exponential case).
- Introduce students to exponential functions
- Enable students to identify and apply appropriate mathematical methods to solve problems in real-world contexts.
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