Summary: A HOUSE OF YOUR OWN:
THE MATHEMATICS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM PART II
George Ashline Joanna Ellis-Monaghan
St. Michael's College, VT St. Michael's College, VT
Description: Given materials drawn from community resources, students choose the most
appropriate mortgage program to finance a new home.
Keywords: House buying, home mortgages, simple interest amortized loans, amortization
schedule, financial mathematics.
Objectives: To engage students with hands-on experience with some of the calculations and
analysis involved in buying a home; to provide motivation for various topics in financial
mathematics; to convince students of the relevance of mathematics in their daily lives.
Prerequisites: Organizational ability, attention to detail, and comfort with basic algebraic
concepts such as order of operation and properties of exponents.
Course level: Any course, such as algebra II, pre-calculus, financial mathematics, in which
students have or develop an understanding of basic algebraic methods, or any course that
develops basic formulas for simple and compound interest, and amortized loans. This is a
good capstone project for the financial component of such a course.
Technology used: At least a calculator with a memory function and exponentiation key, and
access to an amortization schedule generator, eg. on the Internet. Spreadsheet software