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Education Resources

The Fed Explains...Good Standards and Bad Standards

Fed ExplainedIn its sixth edition, the award-winning animated video series the Fed Explained takes on the topic of money as a unit of account, or measure of value. Standardized units of measurement are important in many things that we do, but nowhere so important as in giving value to our money. The new video, "The Fed Explains Good Standards versus Bad Standards," describes the Fed's role in keeping our money's value stable and explains why a commodity like gold is not a reliable or effective monetary standard.

The short Fed Explained videos, which also tackle inflation, gross domestic product, unemployment, central banking, and the Federal Reserve's structure, make a great addition to classroom units on these economic concepts. Teachers can use them to build a whole unit of multimedia resources and hands-on lessons from Federal Reserve resources on the topics. When teaching about the functions of money, teachers can also access resources such as the Classroom Economist's "Money" module, which includes a chat with an economist on the subject, an online lesson demonstration, a voiceover PowerPoint, a quiz, a SMART lesson, and a resources guide. The "History of Central Banking" module includes a discussion of the gold standard as well as discussion questions for Liaquat Ahamed's book the Lords of Finance. The book describes how the gold standard operates and its impact during the Great Depression. In 2012, an issue of Extra Credit featured these topics. The article provides links to additional resources for learning more about the gold standard. Below are links to a number of other Fed resources available for teaching about this function of money. These resources range from hands-on lessons and publications to podcasts and informational texts.

As part of a new collaboration, the first five Fed Explained videos are now part of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis's econlowdown online learning site, in the site's new "Video Q&A" feature. Teachers can enroll their students in the Video Q&A section of the online learning program and have them take the online quizzes after they view the videos. Students can take the quizzes more than once—they will see different questions every time—and then have their highest scores sent to their instructor. The "Good Standards and Bad Standards" video will be added to the site in the near future.

Additional Resources

Classroom Economist: History of Central Banking

Classroom Economist: What Is Money?

Everyday Economics: Money

Extra Credit: Lords of Finance

The Functions of Money (econlowdown podcast)

Functions of Money hands-on lesson: Benjamin Franklin and the Birth of a Paper Money Economy

The Gold Standard Loses Luster: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 2012 annual report

Money and Inflation: A Functional Relationship (Page One Economics newsletter)

Why Money? lesson

By Lesley Mace, economic and financial education specialist with the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

November 6, 2013