Lessons and Activities
Try some of these lesson plans and classroom activities for teaching economics or 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.
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.
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.
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.
Passport to Globalization
In this hands-on lesson, students travel the globe and explore the Federal Reserve's use of easy and tight monetary policy to address domestic economic problems.
Show Me the Euro
Designed to introduce foreign language students to international trade and foreign exchange markets, this lesson includes a series of hands-on activities that allow students to participate in engaging, project-based learning and technology centered activities that foster higher-order thinking skills and creativity.
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.
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.
An Economic SIM-ulus Package
Students discover how economic conditions in their own community are taken into account at meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in this four-unit lesson.
Live from Atlanta, It's the Janet Yellen Show
Chair Janet Yellen has asked your students to help her teach young people about the importance of the Federal Reserve System in their lives. Use this engaging lesson simulation to teach your students about the Federal Reserve.
Myths, Tall Tales, and Urban Legends: Facts behind the Fed
Use this lesson to introduce students to common myths about the Federal Reserve and the reality behind these common misconceptions.
The Trial of Monty Terry
Are your students budding thespians? If so, use this reader's theater to have your students act out the roles commonly featured in many courtroom dramas as they determine whether the defendant, Monty Terry (monetary policy), on trial to determine whether this defendant is guilty of manipulating the economy, controlling the money supply, and outperforming fiscal policy in solving macroeconomic instability.
Baskets, Base Years, and Bias: Constructing and Using a Student Price Index
Your students are consumers, too! Use this new Extra Credit lesson to help your students construct and use a price index reflecting the purchasing patterns of teens at their own school.
Teenage Unemployment: What's the Local Story?
Challenge your students to collect and analyze economic data on teen unemployment for their own school. This high school economics lesson from Extra Credit will help your students find their "inner economist."
Apptivity of the Month: Econ Lowdown
This classroom activity allows students to use their own tools—their smartphones and tablets—with an app from the St. Louis Fed to learn about inflation and the cost of credit. This article offers some tips.
Apptivity of the Month: FRED
Do you need more ideas for your smartphone or mobile tablet lab? The St. Louis Fed has an app that allows you to explore vast amounts of economic data. Read more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. In the related 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.
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.
Effects of Hispanic-Owned Businesses on Markets: Shifting Supply and Demand
Build your awareness of top Hispanic-owned businesses in the Southeast. This lesson uses the stories of entrepreneurs with Hispanic heritage as the basis for this supply and demand activity.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game...to Learn Economics
Baseball and economics have more than statistics in common. Here's one way to teach economics through America's favorite pastime.
Banking & Budgeting
Use this five-day unit to introduce upper elementary or middle grade students to personal finance decision making and the basics of banking.
The Bank of Good Habits
Use this lesson to conduct investment and banking simulations to introduce your students to the importance of saving and investing in this four-lesson unit.
Making Finance Personal: Project-Based Learning for the Personal Finance Classroom
Turn your students into personal finance gurus. This Extra Credit curriculum unit provides your students with a comprehensive approach to successful financial management.
Apptivity of the Month: Building Wealth
Do you have a bring-your-own-device program or a mobile tablet lab at your school? How will you integrate these technologies into your classroom? Here's an "apptivity" to help get you started.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teaching budgeting builds life skills
Georgia teachers share their strategies for teaching students important budgeting skills—for now and for a lifetime.
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.
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.
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.
The importance of financial literacy
Recent Atlanta Fed research shows that financial literacy—and especially math ability—has a measurable impact on consumers' mortgage repayment behavior.
The Changing Nature of Payments
Although Americans still wrote 33 billion checks in 2006, check usage is declining, giving way to electronic payment methods such as debit and credit cards and automated clearinghouse transactions.