With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the AES curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.
As a middle school finance teacher, it's your job to lay the groundwork for skills your kids will carry with them all their lives. If you choose the right curriculum and teach a great class, they'll be much better equipped to handle their financial futures. However, if you don't, your class could suffer, and your students may make mistakes that cripple them down the line.
To avoid this, it's essential that teachers like you have the best course material possible to teach your students financial literacy and guide them toward success with their money. To that end, many teachers approach AES for our opinion about various resource providers, like Next Gen Personal Finance, to see if they're up to snuff.
2. What Financial Literacy Topics Does Next Gen Personal Finance Include?
NGPF covers a wide array of business and personal finance topics. Their middle school finance curriculum is divided into 9 units:
Money in Our Lives
Prepare for Success
Life After High School
Each unit includes a variety of materials like lesson plans, student activities, case studies, and bell ringers.
This material is perfect for grades 6-8, and can be covered in about 9 weeks of class time. It's even adaptable enough to be delivered in-person, remotely, or through hybrid learning!
What Do Next Gen Personal Finance’s Units Look Like?
Most of NGPF’s core curriculum materials exist as Google docs, which makes each document easy to access and customize depending on your needs.
Typically, each unit includes a Unit Plan document to help teachers grasp the course pacing and layout. Also included are lesson guides for each individual lesson, student activity packets, assessment docs, and other activities and games, depending on the unit.
There is also at least one exam per unit for units 2-9, if you're worried about creating new assessments.
For its middle school finance curriculum, NGPF has even incorporated Nearpod lessons and Google slides to better appeal to younger students.
Does Next Gen Personal Finance Have Any Supplemental Resources?
If you're only looking for supplemental resources to pad out an existing personal finance curriculum, NGPF has options available.
In the Arcade section of their website, you can find arcade games, interactive activities, and quiz games based on personal finance topics.
These resources are fun and varied--perfect for middle school students. Altogether, they're a great choice for instructors to draw upon to reinforce their finance or business curriculum while driving student engagement.
3. What Are the Benefits of Next Gen Personal Finance?
Altogether, Next Gen Personal Finance will likely serve as an excellent resource for your middle school financial literacy course, and has several significant benefits.
Free with Registration
One of the surest benefits that NGPF has going for it is that all of its course material and activities are free. This makes it a great choice for budget-conscious teachers who need a great deal of content that they won’t have to pay for.
To get started you only need to register on the NGPF site as a teacher and wait for your account to be approved to start accessing the wealth of material available. This also works to prevent students from cheating, as the answer keys to course assignments are only available to registered accounts, and students won’t be able to find them via Google.
However if you're in need of a few quick resources, the registration process could prove an impediment, and so under certain circumstances, this benefit could double as a drawback.
Flexibility and Cohesiveness
Another considerable benefit NGPF may bring to your course is its balance between flexibility and comprehensiveness.
NGPF’s material can serve a variety of functions depending on your needs. Its middle school resources are flexible enough to serve well in many different kinds of classrooms, and the supplemental resources it provides can fill any gaps in an existing curriculum you have.
At the same time, NGPF’s core units also provide students with a comprehensive, well-rounded educational experience, even aligning to the National Jump$tart Financial Literacy Standards. There’s a lot of great material in NGPF, and by using it, you should cover most of your bases for a middle school financial literacy course.
4. What Are Some Drawbacks of Next Gen Personal Finance?
Though NGPF will likely serve your finance class well as a source of activities and educational material, there are some drawbacks you should consider.
Free with Registration
NGPF provides its content for free as long as you create a teacher account on their website.
Though this may seem like a small price to pay, it may be a roadblock for some. For teachers unwilling to submit certain information or otherwise tie themselves to NGPF, the site registration will be a con. If you’re looking for a resource provider with no strings attached, NGPF might not work for you.
At the same time, teachers in need of immediate access to NGPF’s material may find the registration process an impediment. The process takes about a day to complete as the NGPF team reviews your submitted information and decides whether to approve your account. If you desperately need a personal finance assessment or assignment right away, consider looking elsewhere.
Most Materials Aren’t Visually Compelling
One of the complaints teachers sometimes bring up regarding NGPF is that much of its material isn’t visually appealing or engaging.
This goes for its lesson plans, student packets, and other materials teachers use on the day-to-day for their classes, as opposed to the games, activities, and Nearpod lessons, which place a greater focus on engagement.
If you want to successfully engage your middle school students with NGPF’s core curriculum, it may require a bit of adapting to make it work. While NGPF provides a strong foundation, some teachers find they have to modify some of the lessons to better appeal to their students.
This could pose a problem for teachers who want material they can quickly pick up and use in their classroom, or teachers who already have problems gaining student attention, and want more engaging material.
Only Nine Weeks of Content
NGPF's middle school finance curriculum contains about 9 weeks' worth of material across its 9 units. For some teachers, this works out well, as many middle school finance courses only last for half a semester--about 9 weeks--before students move on to another elective course.
However, if your personal finance course runs longer than 9 weeks, you'll want to seek out additional resources to fill out the rest of your curriculum.
For instance, if you teach a full-semester course, NGPF will only cover about half of it, and therefore probably won't be the best core curriculum resource to use. In that case, you might be better off seeking resources like digital curriculum systems or textbooks to form the centerpiece of your course.
5. Is Next Gen Personal Finance Right for Your Middle School Classes?
Ultimately, that depends on what exactly you’re looking for from a resource provider.
All things considered, NGPF is a great choice for middle school personal finance classes. It covers essential topics, has both core and supplemental material, and best of all, it’s all free.
If you’re looking for a core curriculum or supplemental materials that will help your middle schoolers avoid future financial pitfalls, then NGPF may be right for you.
However, there are a few drawbacks. To use NGPF to its fullest, you have to register on their site--which could cause issues if you’re pressed for time--and some of its material isn't as engaging as it could be. Just as well, it only has enough content for 9 weeks, so if you teach a semester-long finance course, it probably won't have enough material for you.
If these drawbacks are enough to put you on the fence about NGPF, rest assured there are many other resource providers out there dedicated to helping you teach personal financial literacy. Dive into a few different options in the article below: