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$martPath curriculum took a smart (and successful) path

Free curriculum increases math literacy.
June 1, 2018
smartpath curriculum

The $martpath curriculum to increase math, personal finance and economics understanding is geared toward students from the first all the way through the eighth grades.

These lessons are designed to teach students about math, personal finances, and thinking ahead.

$martPath began in 2015 with a $1-million donation to the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center and a directive: develop a program that would increase students’ understanding of personal finance and economics. The Center, with director Dr. Julie Heath at the helm, developed $martPath, an interactive curriculum that can be used from first grade all the way through the eighth grade. Not only is the program tailored to meet the demands of classroom teachers, it’s also free! The Bradbury Science Museum is supporting the rollout by hosting teacher training in June in conjunction with the Bradbury Science Museum Association. Additional sessions were held here earlier this year, taught by Dr. Heath.

“What makes $martPath unique is its flexibility, not only in how the lessons can be implemented but in how the teacher can use the lessons to fit the needs of their classroom,” said Emily Krugh, the Center’s Communications Coordinator. “In addition, each lesson aligns with New Mexico’s Mathematics, Social Studies, and Language Arts content standards, all while teaching important financial literacy concepts.”

At their heart, the lessons are fun and engaging with memorable characters in relatable situations geared toward their young audience. Or, mostly relatable. For instance, two skunks want to visit “Stinkland,” apparently their smelly version of an amusement park. So just how many pizzas do the critters have to sell and at what price to make that olfactory dream come true?

The program, which was thoroughly vetted with teachers in Ohio, is now being rolled out in four states, including New Mexico. In our state, Nusenda Credit Union is providing financial support to ensure the program, and its associated training, is provided at no cost to teachers. In fact, educators get an Amazon gift card as an incentive for attending the training and another one once they’ve implemented the training in the classroom.

Results so far are encouraging. Pre- and post-training tests show the lessons are being absorbed by the children, and the teachers are enthusiastic. No small feat. Teachers had these comments,

“My scholars loved the lessons and they were very useful in everyday life.  The program is easy to use and the videos are extremely helpful. I feel the scholars are excited about learning something that will last a lifetime.”

“I liked that it was kid friendly, interactive, and interesting. The children enjoyed seeing the characters daily and asked if there were any more videos on the last day. The videos were short, to the point, and animated so it kept the students’ interest. I feel it was age‑appropriate and wasn’t too childish. There was a great mix of topics to keep their interest.”

The Center hopes to make the program more widely available, and we’re happy to be among the first locations to support regional students and teachers with this award-winning program.