Lesson Plan of the Year Contest: Guidelines

Updated July 2, 2009


The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta announces the 2009–2010 Lesson Plan of the Year Contest for sixth- through twelfth-grade educators and preservice educators. The contest objective is for educators to develop a lesson plan using Federal Reserve publications, Web sites, and multimedia program materials.

Prizes will be awarded to the educators who submit the top lesson plans in each of the Sixth Federal Reserve District offices: Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, and New Orleans. Subsequently, the first-place lesson plan from each of the six offices will be judged to determine the overall District winner and to rank the five other finalists.

The contest is open to sixth- through twelfth-grade educators in the Sixth Federal Reserve District. In addition to teachers, school district staff (i.e., social studies supervisors) and individual school staff (i.e., principals, assistant principals, etc.) are also eligible to develop and submit a lesson plan. However, keep in mind that prior to submission, lesson plans must be classroom-tested in a school within the Sixth Federal Reserve District. Accordingly, participants who are not currently in the classroom must have the lesson administered in a class by a teaching colleague.

The contest is also open to sixth- through twelfth-grade preservice educators attending a university in the Sixth Federal Reserve District. Find your state below to see if your school or university is in the Sixth Federal Reserve District.

Educators whose immediate family members are employed by or serve as directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or its branches, or who serve as contest judges, are not eligible to participate.

Entries must be postmarked by Friday, January 29, 2010. No submissions will be accepted after the deadline.

For questions concerning eligibility, contact the Economic and Financial Education Specialist at the designated Reserve Bank office.

Up to three finalists from each Sixth District office (Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, and New Orleans) may be selected and notified in March 2009. Each finalist will be honored by his/her Reserve Bank office. Up to three finalists will be awarded savings bonds as follows:

  • First place – $1,000 savings bond,
  • Second place – $800 savings bond, and
  • Third place – $600 savings bond.

The first-place winner from each office will then compete against the first-place winners from the other five offices. These six first-place winners will be invited to an awards ceremony and luncheon at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta during April 2009 (with travel expenses paid by the Federal Reserve). Savings bonds will be awarded to the District finalists as follows:

  • First place – $1,500 savings bond,
  • Second place – $1,000 savings bond,
  • Third place – $750 savings bond, and
  • Honorable mention (3) – $250 savings bond.

The top three District finalists' lesson plans will be published on the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Web site and showcased in the Extra Credit newsletter. Honorable mention–winning plans will not be posted online.

Lesson plan sample topics
A wide variety of Federal Reserve resources are available for use in developing a lesson plan for the contest. Possible lesson plan topics may include

  • Federal Reserve purposes and functions (e.g., monetary policy, supervision and regulation, financial services, etc.),
  • history and structure of the Federal Reserve,
  • economics (e.g., economic indicators, inflation, free enterprise, etc.), and
  • personal finance (e.g., budgeting, saving, credit, consumer debt, etc.).

In addition to economics and personal finance, lesson plans may be developed for interdisciplinary areas such as

  • mathematics (e.g., interest rates, conducting monetary policy, etc.),
  • language arts (e.g., communicating complex monetary policy concepts, etc.), and
  • business (e.g., open market operations, Federal Reserve's impact on businesses, etc.).

Contestants should not be limited by the topics listed above and are encouraged to use their creativity in developing lesson plans.


  • Entries must be postmarked by Friday, January 29, 2010. No submissions will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Only one entry per educator or team of educators will be accepted.
  • Teams of two educators may submit an entry and will split equally any awards received.
  • A completed entry form must accompany the submission.
  • Each lesson plan must reflect the educator's own research, writing, and original thinking.
  • Each lesson plan must reflect the use of one or more Federal Reserve publications, Web sites, or multimedia program materials. Federal Reserve materials may be found at www.federalreserveeducation.org or by contacting the Economic and Financial Education Specialist at the designated Reserve Bank office.
  • Prior to submission, lesson plans must be classroom-tested in a school within the Sixth Federal Reserve District.

Lesson plan rules

  • All entries should include
    • a cover page that displays only the project title;
    • page numbers (do not include the cover page in the page count); and
    • a CD that contains the lesson plan including any classroom handout materials.
  • All documentation should be submitted using one of the Microsoft Office Suite formats (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • All entries should be submitted in either a three-ring binder or folder/report cover.
  • All text portions should
    • be typed and double-spaced on 8.5" x 11" white paper using black ink;
    • have one-inch margins; and
    • be printed using Times New Roman or similar font in 12 or 14 point.
  • The total number of pages should not exceed 40 pages including lesson plan text, classroom handouts, teaching materials, and supplemental materials.
  • Entries should be submitted to the appropriate Sixth Federal Reserve District branch.
  • Optional: Download the contest entry template and type directly into the document, or do your own formatting.

Required lesson plan components
The following are required components of the lesson plan:

  • Title—Use an interesting and attention-grabbing phrase that describes the lesson content.
  • Lesson description—Describe the purpose or goals of the lesson and provide a brief description of the procedure used. Provide a clear overview of the lesson activities. Identify the Federal Reserve materials used in the lesson plan.
  • Content standards—Include the content standards and benchmarks that are explicitly taught in the lesson. Use standards and benchmarks from at least one of the following organizations:
  • Concepts—List as single words or phrases any concept that is explicitly taught and fully explained in the lesson.
  • Grade level—Identify the grade level or levels for which the lesson is appropriate.
  • Objectives—The lesson objectives should be student-oriented, observable, clear, measurable, and descriptive of a learning outcome.
  • Time required—State the length of the lesson. The length should be from one to four 50-minute class periods or two 100-minute class periods. Time required should be realistic for administering the entire lesson.
  • Materials—A list of all materials required for the lesson should be included (e.g., worksheets, visuals, supplies, etc.). Identify the Federal Reserve resources used. Federal Reserve resources can be found at www.federalreserveeducation.org or by contacting the Economic and Financial Education Specialist at the designated Reserve Bank office.
  • Procedure—The procedure section of the lesson plan is the core of the lesson. Use this section to describe how instructional objectives will be met. The procedure should
    • be clearly explained, step by step,
    • hold the interest of the students,
    • have varied activities,
    • include accurate and fully explained subject-related content,
    • utilize higher-order thinking skills,
    • provide the necessary tools for students to accomplish the objectives,
    • achieve closure (The closure section provides a means of helping students recognize those points learned in the lesson. A review of major points, carefully crafted questions, and other closure activities can help students grasp important points and objectives explicitly),
    • use active learning approaches/procedures whenever possible,
    • carefully evaluate what the targeted students can and cannot do,
    • be stated clearly and precisely,
    • include definitions of subject-related terms and principles pertinent to the lesson,
    • include answers for any discussion questions, and
    • provide worksheets, student activity forms, assignments, etc.
  • Assessment—Identify whether the students have learned the stated lesson objectives. Provide a description (and examples, if applicable) of how and to what extent the students achieved the learning objectives.
  • Bibliography—All resources and references should be cited and properly acknowledged in this section.
  • Classroom handouts and teaching materials—Include any handouts and teaching materials that have been created as part of the lesson. If a handout or teaching material is included, it must be submitted as part of the lesson plan package and in electronic format, if possible. Classroom handouts do not have to be in the same format as the lesson plan text. (Please see lesson plan rules for details on lesson plan text requirements.)
  • Supplemental materials (optional)—Student work, pictures, graphs, or other printed material may be included with the submission.

Judging criteria
Criteria used to evaluate the lesson plans will include

  1. use of Federal Reserve materials (e.g., publications, Web site, multimedia resources, etc.),
  2. required lesson plan components and rules as described above,
  3. lesson originality and creativity,
  4. accuracy of content,
  5. ease of replication or adaptation (across curriculum, age groups, and schools),
  6. relevance to standards, and
  7. writing style (correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation).

Entries will be given a score up to 100 points. Each criterion is given a weighted score as follows:

Criterion Point Value
Lesson Description 5
Objectives 10
Overall Procedure 20
Use of Fed Materials 10
Meets National Education Standards 5
Accuracy and Quality of Content 10
Summary/Assessment 5
Originality/Creativity 20
Adaptability 10
Documentation Quality and Organization 5

Postmark deadline: Friday, January 29, 2010
Awards notification: March 2010
District awards ceremony and luncheon: April 2010

States/counties in the Sixth Federal Reserve District
and local office representatives

Note: For clarity, the following changes have been made to the traditional zone boundary descriptions:
1) Chattanooga, Tenn., is included with the Nashville listing rather than with Atlanta.
2) Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama are included with the Birmingham listing rather than with New Orleans.

Birmingham office
Julie Kornegay
524 Liberty Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35242

All counties in Alabama

Jacksonville office
Barbara Klingler
800 Water Street
Jacksonville, FL 32204

The following Florida counties:
Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton, Washington

Miami office
Marycela Diaz-Unzalu
9100 NW 36 Street
Miami, FL 33178

The following Florida counties:
Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Glades, Hendry, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie

Atlanta office
Amy Hennessy
1000 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

All counties in Georgia

Louisiana and Mississippi
New Orleans office
Jennifer Staley
525 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
Claire Loup
525 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130

The following Louisiana parishes:
Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana

And the following Mississippi counties:
Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Issaquena, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Walthall, Warren, Wayne, Wilkinson, Yazoo

Nashville office
Jackie Morgan
301 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203

The following Tennessee counties:
Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Carter, Cheatham, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Louden, Macon, Marion, Marshall, Maury, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Stewart, Sullivan, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Unicoi, Union, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Williamson, Wilson