you ever heard a 12 year old tell you they are going to drive a Dodge
Viper when they get a drivers license? Or maybe, "I don't need
an education, I going to be rich when I grow up," Sometimes
these statements tickle us as adults, because we know the whole
story. Mainly, cars aren't free and you don't get rich working at
It was this type of thinking that caused Mr. Wendorf, a sixth grade math, science, and journalism teacher, to assign his math students a project that forced them to look into their own future. Not only were these students asked to investigate a possible career option, they had to create a budget for their first year out of college.
As the project began, student's instant enthusiasm was slightly squelched when Wendorf informed the them that there would be no professional athletes, rock stars, or actresses/actors. After the initial shock of that announcement waned, students accepted the "you need something to fall back on" explanation, and even showed excitement towards various other fields.
Working in groups of common interest, students searched the information highway for scraps of information pertaining to their perspective careers. Teams sought- out education requirements, state and federal licensing, college programs, average starting salaries, prospective job locations and daily routines. Students seem to think they had won the lottery, when they would see a starting salary of $30,000 to $40,000. They intended to live in a beautiful house on the beach, drive a BMW, and eat out every night.
Reality struck when the second part of the project began. Upon completion of there informational report, students began using their mathematical skills to see just how far their new found fortune would stretch. Their fantasies were crushed by one expense, taxes. From that point on, students began lowering their expectations. As they once again went to the web to find homes and cars, students began to consider the expense. Several students chose to take roommates to reduce expenses, and down graded to economy cars.
Upon completion of the project, students were asked if they would like to share what they found. What you see on these pages are their results.