Extra Credit (Spring 2008)

Special Topic

Atlanta Fed announces winners of Lesson Plan of the Year contest

image of woman holding an appleAt an awards ceremony at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in April, Bobbie McCrackin, the bank's public affairs officer and a vice president, announced the winners of the Atlanta Fed's Lesson Plan of the Year contest for 2007–08.

The first-place winner was Sherilyn Narker of Druid Hills High School in Atlanta. Three entrants tied in the judging for second place: Matthew Daniel of Cannon County High School in Woodbury, Tenn.; Tanya Hanson and Tom Glaser of South Dade Senior High School in Homestead, Fla., and Hialeah–Miami Lakes Senior High School in Hialeah, Fla., respectively; and Dawn Owens and Lisa Rutner of West Port Middle School in Ocala, Fla. Third place went to Maxine Casey of Monroe County Career Technical Center in Monroeville, Ala.

The annual contest, now in its second year, challenges middle and high school educators to develop lesson plans featuring Federal Reserve publications, Web sites, or multimedia materials. The competition is designed to introduce educators to Federal Reserve materials and to encourage them to think about how these resources can be used to teach students about the Federal Reserve, economics, and personal finance.

Each entry was evaluated by a panel of judges composed of educators and the staff of other Federal Reserve Banks. Entries were rated on use of Federal Reserve materials, originality and creativity, accuracy, quality of documentation, adherence to project guidelines, organization, ease of replication or adaptation, relevance to standards, and writing style.

Photo of Lesson Plan of the Year winners
Left to right: Tanya Hanson, Maxine Casey, Lisa Rutner, Tom Glaser, Dawn Owens, Sherilyn Narker, and Matthew Daniel

Regional winners
Each of the finalists at the Atlanta ceremony represented the winning entry from a geographic area served by one of the Atlanta Fed's six offices. The five regional winners each received a $1,000 savings bond, awarded by their respective Atlanta Fed local office: Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Miami, and Nashville. In addition, at the Atlanta ceremony, Narker, the overall first-place winner, received a $1,500 savings bond; the three second-place winning entries each received a $1,000 savings bond (entries submitted by a team split the award among the team members); and Casey, the third-place winner, received a $750 savings bond.

Winning lesson plans
Narker's first-place entry, "Live from Atlanta, It's…The Ben Bernanke Show!" has groups of students develop hypothetical talk show pilots using Fed materials. Through role play, each group presents its pilot, which demonstrates concepts to help other teens understand the Fed, to the show's host, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Daniel's entry, "The Fed Casher Show: Consumer Call-In Show," is an introduction to personal finance and building wealth. The format is a radio call-in show with consumers calling the Fed for advice. Hanson and Glaser's lesson, "Rating the Rates: The Fed's Role in the Larger Economy," teaches students about various types of interest rates—their definition, how rates are affected by the Federal Reserve, and how each rate in turn affects the Fed. Owens and Rutner's lesson plan, "Banking and Budgeting for Exceptional Student Education," focuses on teaching banking basics—such as opening a checking account, balancing a checkbook, and following a monthly budget—to advanced middle school students.

Casey's third-place lesson plan, "A Car for College?" is a learning exercise in saving, interest rates, and factors to consider in budgeting to buy a car.

The winning lesson plans will be posted on this Web site at a later date.

By Lon Lazzeri, economic and financial education representative, Miami Branch