Seventh and eighth grade students now have the skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and know how to compute all these operations with money and decimals. The next part of learning about money and financing is geared more toward the business aspect.
During these two grades, students will begin to learn about change from a purchase, discounts, commission, price markup, sales tax, shipping and handling, and interest rates. Some of these topics will be fully taught and others will be introduced (see Consumer Math).
Up to this point, the learned skills of money have been discussed so students can be able to use in real life situations. Teachers in the prior grades have taught and tested all the students skills regarding computing money and the students will learn now how this topic will relate to them in their own life.
When students begin in the middle school levels, the classes can be larger and the teachers do not follow every student to see if they handed their work in on time. Teachers have close to 150 students a day where at the elementary level, they could have 20 – 50 students. The new teenage students need to be responsible for themselves concerning their school work and if a concept is not understood, the teacher expects them to ask questions or get extra help. With all the physically changes occurring, many students will not feel comfortable asking a teacher for help and this could be their downfall of not learning the next concepts regarding finances.
Students know how to purchase an item, give the correct amount of money to the cashier, and receive the correct amount of change. What if the roles were reversed and the student is working as a cashier, could they make change and add the correct sales tax onto the purchaser’s item? In seventh and eighth grade, teachers will spend time with real life concepts concerning finances. During these grades, Algebra is being taught as well and where the majority of time is being spent.
The teacher will explain financial terms with real life problems by role playing using the students in the classroom. For example, let’s say Toby is working at a clothing store in the mall and Jon walked in. Toby greets Jon and asks him if he needs any help finding a certain item. Jon says yes and Toby spends a half hour helping Jon buy a pair of jeans and two shirts. The total bill came to $140.00 and since Toby was the sales person helping Jon, Toby will make a 10% commission from this sale.
After the teacher has the student’s role play this word problem, then she or he has the entire class at their individual seats try and solve the problem. The class gets five minutes to work it out and then the teacher will go through the problem as a class. Some teachers use visual aides to help students understand the concept. The formula for the problem should be written clearly on the board and all the students should have it written down in their notebooks. Next, the numbers from the word problem should be plugged into the formula, and then solved.
When the concept of commission, sales tax, discounts are being taught to be solved; the easiest way for students to learn these concepts are by practicing with the teacher. All formulas should be taught, written in the students math notebook, with an explanation of when and how to use them.