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Education Resources

Lessons and Activities: High School

Try some of these lesson plans and classroom activities for teaching economics or personal finance.

  • Basic Economic Concepts
  • International
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Personal Finance

Basic Economic Concepts

Getting SMART about Economics: Bringing Whiteboard Lessons to Your Classroom
Today's youth—so-called digital natives—have lived lives of "bits, bytes, and bauds." Extra Credit offers tips for teachers how to engage these students with interactive whiteboards. The article includes links to lessons to use with the whiteboards.
Fall 2012

Welcome to the blogosphere: Connecting technology, economics, and literacy skills
Teachers can find a treasure trove of economic resources in blogs, for use in teaching economic basics. Extra Credit offers a list of established blogs as well as tips for teachers to help students and classes start their own.
Spring 2012

Beyond the economic textbook: Using popular nonfiction in the classroom
Looking for a way to take your class beyond the standard textbook? Engage your students while introducing them to real-world applications of economic theories by using popular nonfiction books on economics.
Fall 2011

Three teachers' strategies for presenting circular flow
How many young consumers ponder the economic relationships between businesses and households? How many understand that this interaction is essential for market economies to function? Three Atlanta-area teachers share lessons and strategies for teaching circular flow.
Fall 2011

Emphasizing consumer choice as an economic and personal finance concept
Three educators share creative ways to teach students about consumer choice and utility.
Spring 2010


Teaching tips for international economics
As world trade shrinks the world, students must understand the basic concepts of international trade and global trade policies. Read the latest Extra Credit to learn how other teachers use creative teaching methods to enhance their teaching of international economics.
Fall 2011

Using multimedia and T-shirts to teach globalization
A variety of resources, including books, podcast, videos—and even the Made in tags attached to your students' T-shirts—can launch your classroom discussions about globalization. Read more in the newest Extra Credit.
Fall 2011

Show Me the Euro
Introduce international trade and foreign exchange markets to students with this two-day lesson.
Fall 2009


100 (Divided by 2) Reasons to Love the Fed's New Centennial Commemoration Lessons
Have a little math fun while also learning about the new Fed Centennial Commemoration Lesson plans in this article.
Fall 2013

More Resources for Teaching Economics through the Lens of Current Events
Looking for some good reading material for your economics students? EconSouth, an Atlanta Fed publication, provides plenty of easy-to-digest stories on different aspects of economics. This article summarizes several of them and offers accompanying discussion questions.
Fall 2013

The Numbers Game
How many days does it take for a million seconds to pass by? A billion seconds? This article offers fun facts about numbers for the classroom.
Fall 2013

Teaching Tip: Informational Texts and Primary Sources from the Federal Reserve
Need a little break? Sit back, read this new article, and get more ideas for teaching economics and personal finance using free materials from the Federal Reserve.
Fall 2013

Another Visit to FRED to Find Primary Data
Join us on another tour of the user-friendly treasure trove of economic data called FRED, short for Federal Reserve Economic Data. This article walks you through the process of creating charts to view the effects of recent monetary policy efforts on interest rates.
Spring 2013

Implementing Common Core Standards? Check Out These Lessons
Need lessons that meet common core standards? This article describes two from the St. Louis Fed that incorporate standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.
Spring 2013

Atlanta Fed Adds Another Tool to Teachers' Toolkit
The Atlanta Fed launched an animated video series last April with a primer on inflation. The second installment looked at gross domestic product. Extra Credit notes that the videos' engaging graphics and straightforward examples are an excellent tool for teaching these basic economic concepts.
Fall 2012

The Classroom Economist Explains the Federal Reserve
This fall will see the release of the seventh edition of the Classroom Economist. This edition goes into the history of central banking in the United States.
Fall 2012

Ideas for Teaching Inflation
How do you teach students the difference between inflation and changes in the cost of living? Extra Credit offers tips, including a time travel exercise, for teaching these concepts.
Fall 2012

Introducing Students to Inflation Indexes
CPI, PPI, PCE.... More than a jumble of letters, these indexes give important information about inflation and the economy. Extra Credit offers teachers a primer on inflation and inflation indexes.
Fall 2012

Let FRED Help Your Students Tell an Economic Story
This Extra Credit article takes the reader step by step through a process of gathering information on inflation using Federal Reserve Economic Data, or FRED. FRED is an excellent classroom tool for researching any economic issue.
Fall 2012

Lords of Finance: History, economics, and finance
In 2010, Fed Chairman Bernanke mentioned the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lords of Finance as a resource for helping people understand the recent financial crisis. Extra Credit reviews this important book, which chronicles the Great Depression, and offers questions to facilitate classroom discussion.
Spring 2012

Ready-made current events for the economics classroom
EconSouth, the Atlanta Fed's quarterly economic and business magazine, is a treasure trove of current economic events. Extra Credit reviews some of these stories and offers accompanying discussion questions to help economic educators link core economic concepts to the real world.
Spring 2012

Teach the basics with the imaginative Little Book of Economics
An excellent nonfiction book to supplement your textbooks, The Little Book explains basic macroeconomic, finance, and globalization concepts. Read a concise review and get access to guided discussion questions in the March 2012 issue of Extra Credit.
Spring 2012

Myths, Tall Tales, and Urban Legends: Facts behind the Fed
The lesson introduces students to common myths about the Federal Reserve and the reality behind the misconceptions.
SMART Board Lesson (Notebook version)
Fall 2011

The case of the ailing economy
How do you engage your students in a real discussion of current economic conditions? Make the discussion a project. Here is an activity that gets them to hone their critical thinking skills.
Fall 2011

Economics in action: Taking the BP oil spill from the headlines to the classroom
National and regional economists are still assessing the effects of the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Find suggestions and activities for using news articles about the spill to illustrate relevant economic concepts.
Spring 2011

Why do women still earn less? Opportunity costs and rational economics
While conventional wisdom may point to discrimination as a cause of the remaining wage gap between women and men, research shows that other economic forces, such as the opportunity costs of women's career choices, are more likely explanations.
Spring 2011

New online courses offer interactive, monitored learning
The St. Louis Fed recently debuted interactive online economic and finance courses that allow teachers to monitor students' progress and assess their content mastery. A new podcast series helps teachers introduce concepts.
Fall 2010

Activity on the labor force and unemployment
Students use scenario cards to determine the classroom labor force, what type of unemployment they are experiencing, and the classroom unemployment rate. 55 minutes
Fall 2009

Activity on monetary policy and recessions
The current recession's impact on jobs, housing, credit, and investments has caused financial difficulties for many households. What steps have the Fed and other agencies taken to stabilize the economy and financial markets? And how will fundamental changes in the labor force influence students' plans for higher education?
Fall 2009

Inflated ideas: Teaching about inflation
The aim of monetary policy is to ensure that there is enough money in the economy to keep it growing but not so much that it overheats and causes inflation.
Fall 2009

Economically Speaking: The ABCs of GDP
Economy-watchers look at GDP as a measure of a nation's overall economic health. Find out the fundamentals about this often-quoted indicator.
Spring 2009

High school activity on GDP
In this activity, students will determine what components of a country's spending make up its GDP, and then they compute real and nominal GDP for a fictional economy. Finally, students investigate alternate measures of a country's standard of living. 120 minutes
Spring 2009

An Economic SIM-ulus Package
Teachers can turn their classrooms into a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting with this four-lesson unit.
Fall 2009

Passport to Globalization
Students explore the relationship between Federal Reserve policy and international markets.
Fall 2009.

Live from Atlanta, It's the Ben Bernanke Show
Students use the most recent Beige Book information to research economic conditions to conduct a role-play of a talk show featuring Ben Bernanke as the guest attraction.
Fall 2008

School banks provide hands-on learning opportunities for students
School banks allow students to gain practical banking experience, both on the business side in running the bank and on the consumer side in making transactions.
Fall 2008

The Trial of Monty Terry
Put monetary policy on trial in this courtroom role play.
Fall 2007

When a dollar is worth more than a buck: Facts about U.S. currency
During a recent teacher workshop at the Atlanta Fed's Nashville Branch, Cornersville High School teacher Debra Crable shared a creative holiday gift-giving idea.
Fall 2007

An Introduction to the Federal Reserve
Explore the structure and functions of the Federal Reserve System.
Spring 2007

Supply Shocks: For Better or Worse
Students will learn the impact of supply shocks on prices and output. The market for oil and gasoline serves as an illustration of the impact of supply shocks.
Spring 2007

Teaching monetary policy: Understanding open market operations
The most important tool for implementing monetary policy—open market operations—can often be a confusing concept for students to grasp.
Fall 2006

Monetary policy starts in your own backyard
How does the Fed gather the information used to formulate monetary policy? Besides examining statistical data, Federal Reserve Banks use grassroots sources—businesspeople perhaps from your own area—to inform the decision-making process.
Spring 2006


Take Me Out to the Ball Learn Economics
Baseball and economics have more than statistics in common. Here's one way to teach economics through America's favorite pastime.
Spring 2013

Activity on entrepreneurs
This project introduces students to the many facets of entrepreneurism. Students will appreciate the range of entrepreneurial activity in the economy and how entrepreneurs can introduce change into the marketplace. 25 minutes
Fall 2008

Personal Finance

Boomerang in the Classroom: Lessons in Personal Finance from the Global Crisis
The global finance lessons of Michael Lewis's book Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World also ring true for personal finance. Extra Credit offers some suggestions for using this book to supplement your curriculum.
Fall 2012

Hurricane Katrina: Still Teaching Valuable Lessons Seven Years Later
"Save for a rainy day." That overarching lesson from the Atlanta Fed's four-part curriculum, based on the real-life experiences of four families in an emergency, is still relevant. Extra Credit brings you up to date on one of the featured families.
Fall 2012

More Than a Checkbook: Classroom Resources for Personal Finance and Banking
The Federal Reserve System offers a wealth of resources for teachers of economics and personal finance. Extra Credit rounds some up.
Fall 2012

Using Project-Based Learning to Teach Emergency Preparation
Extra Credit describes a project-based method for teaching students of personal finance that emergency preparedness means more than having an escape route.
Fall 2012

The basics of car insurance
Teens may think a driver's license is the only document they need to get behind the wheel. But having adequate car insurance is just as important—to guard against the unexpected.
Spring 2011

Guaranteeing a high rate of return: Strategies for teaching investment fundamentals
How do other teachers handle the complex task of teaching investing concepts to their students? One Tennessee teacher uses the Stock Market Game. Another invites a financial planner into her classroom. Learn about other strategies in this month's Share the Wealth.
Spring 2011

Teaching budgeting builds life skills
Georgia teachers share their strategies for teaching students important budgeting skills—for now and for a lifetime.
Spring 2011

Teaching students to be savvy savers
Although the recent recession has awakened many Americans to the importance of saving, many still do not save enough. A number of resources are available for teaching students the importance of saving and how to establish good savings habits.
Spring 2011

Why students need to understand investing basics
Young people must understand the fundamentals of investing as early as possible. We may have to file this entire topic under the "youth is wasted on the young" category, but while they may not realize it, our students are blessed with the luxury of time.
Spring 2011

Teaching about mortgages as part of economics and personal finance curriculums
Real teachers provide ideas for resources to teach students about mortgages, including hands-on exercises for practicing mortgage-related calculations and applying for loans.
Fall 2010

The Bank of Good Habits
Students learn about saving and investing in this four-lesson unit.
Fall 2010

You Can Bank on It: The Basics of Banking
Introduce students to different types of financial institutions, their function, and services.
Fall 2010

Meaningful budgeting activities for teens
Two Tennessee educators recently shared their activities for engaging students in budgeting lessons they can relate to.
Spring 2009

Katrina's Classroom lesson plan updates
The lesson plans for the Atlanta Fed's DVD-based financial preparedness curriculum have been updated with references to revised national standards and new evaluation quizzes.
Fall 2008

Using Katrina's Classroom in the Classroom and Beyond
Ramona Dew, a business teacher at Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tenn., shared information about ways she incorporates Katrina's Classroom: Financial Lessons from a Hurricane, a DVD-based curriculum from the Atlanta Fed, into her classroom.
Spring 2008

The Fed Casher Show: A Consumer Call-In Program
Host a call-in show to teach students about the basics of personal finance with this five-day lesson.
Fall 2008

A Car for College?
Students conduct research and develop budgets for buying a vehicle of their choice.
Fall 2008

Bah-Da, Dah-Dot, Da-Da, CHARGE!...But to which card?
Teach your students all about credit cards and managing their use.
Spring 2007

Get started: Put your money in the bank!
Opening a bank account is one of the simplest steps students can take to establish a firm financial foundation and sound money management habits.
En Español
Fall 2007

Activity on opening a bank account
This activity teaches students about opening their first bank account. 50 minutes
Fall 2007

Katrina's Classroom transcript in Spanish
The Atlanta Fed's personal finance curriculum package, focusing on the financial lessons real families learned from the 2005 hurricane, now includes a Spanish translation of the DVD's transcript.
Fall 2007

Katrina's Classroom: Financial lessons from a hurricane
Katrina's Classroom is a new DVD and lesson plan package from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta designed to teach students and parents the importance of being financially prepared.
Spring 2007

What's your financial GPA?
A good credit score can help ensure a happy and secure financial future. Understanding how to achieve and maintain a good score is fundamental to personal financial decisions.
Spring 2007

Planning for a disaster: Getting one's house in order
When calamity strikes, being prepared can literally be a matter of life and death. Young and old alike can cushion the blow of the unexpected by having their affairs in order.
Spring 2006

Securing your (and your students') financial future
Understanding concepts such as saving, investing, interest, and credit allows today's young people to become tomorrow's financially responsible adults.
Spring 2006

The Savings Search
This activity helps students understand the difference between simple and compound interest.
Spring 2006

Credit card confidential: Taking an interest in credit cards
Challenge your students to compare and contrast offers from various credit card companies to better understand the costs for purchases with plastic.
Fall 2006

Financial Education Matters: Making budgets real for your students
Do students roll their eyes or make faces when you suggest they go on a "financial diet"? Here's a plan for teaching budgeting that makes sense in teens' real world.
Fall 2005