TeachersFirst's Understanding Economics and Money: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices

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Understanding how world economic systems work can mystify even the experts, but all of us need to understand the basics of how an economy functions, especially as current events challenge us to adjust to tough times. Today's students and teachers must try to translate the language of financial gurus and the news media in a meaningful and personal context.

This collection of resources has been hand-picked by the editors of TeachersFirst from among our many reviewed resources on economics and money. These selections were chosen to help students (and families) grasp basic economic principles, personal financial planning, and banking at an age-appropriate level.

To complement these resources on the "facts" about economics, TeachersFirst's partner site, TeachersAndFamilies, offers this article and activities to help children and teens handle the feelings and stresses of tough economic times and to mitigate the toll these times can take on families. By understanding the feelings of children and teens and by helping them build age-appropriate knowledge, teachers and families can ease the strain of the tough times we all face together.

We hope you will share these resources with your colleagues and school parents by emailing this page or sharing the link.

View our entire collection of resources related to economics

 

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WE THE ECONOMY 20 Short Films You Can't Afford to Miss - Vulcan Productions/Cinelan

Grades
9 to 12
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Build your understanding of the U.S. economy through a creative, well-organized collection of short films (5-8 min) designed to explain 20 key concepts that any informed citizen needs...more
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Build your understanding of the U.S. economy through a creative, well-organized collection of short films (5-8 min) designed to explain 20 key concepts that any informed citizen needs to understand. Unlike many informational films, these are quite engaging. The collection is divided into five chapters on Economy, Money, The Role of Government, Globalization, and Inequality. All of us can better understand how our economy works from watching these films and exploring some of the follow-up discussion suggestions, even among adults. Teachers can obtain a link to free, downloadable lesson materials, activities, and extensions by filling out a form with their email address. (The email comes within a few minutes but watch your SPAM filter. It may be better to request the link via a home email to avoid school filtering!) The teacher materials include correlations to CCSS standards in ELA, Math, and Writing. The content of the films and lessons supports many major concepts of economics and government included in state and other standards. App versions are available for both iOS and Android.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (177), money (180), supply and demand (5)

In the Classroom

Sign up to download the support materials and plan one or several lessons to demystify the economy as part of a civics/government class or an economics course. Assign students to watch films in small groups and create digital booklets explaining the key concepts to the class using a multimedia tool such as Calameo, reviewed here. As economic issues come up in current events or during an election cycle, use these films to explain the underlying issues.

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Hands On Banking - Wells Fargo

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn about basic money tools, entrepreneurship, and other financial matters with Hands On Banking. Courses are provided for kids through adults with topics such as using credit, budgeting,...more
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Learn about basic money tools, entrepreneurship, and other financial matters with Hands On Banking. Courses are provided for kids through adults with topics such as using credit, budgeting, and smart investing. The interactives (especially for the younger ages) are highly engaging. In addition to the online activities, instructor guides are available for PDF download for all age ranges. Courses are also available for use on mobile devices.

tag(s): financial literacy (84), money (180)

In the Classroom

Create a link to the course for your students on classroom computers or view together on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). This is a great tool to share with families (for both student or parent use). Share this site on your class wiki, blog, or website.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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TV411 - Finance - Adult Literacy Media Alliance

Grades
6 to 12
6 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Find web lessons, videos, and downloads about timely and necessary financial topics. Learn about credit card financing, hidden costs, and paychecks. Each lesson begins with an introduction...more
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Find web lessons, videos, and downloads about timely and necessary financial topics. Learn about credit card financing, hidden costs, and paychecks. Each lesson begins with an introduction to the activity including questions to answer. Feedback is given to the questions, including an explanation of the correct answer. Use the print downloads for creating a budget to use as an activity in class.

tag(s): financial literacy (84), money (180)

In the Classroom

Include this site in a course on personal finance, business, or consumer science. It would also be very useful as a real world application for math skills. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce or review financial topics. Take advantage of the free lesson plans. Share the videos with your class as you study finance and the economy. Share this site with parents through your classroom website or blog.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

Great Resource! Ladisha, VA, Grades: 0 - 12

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Rich Kid, Smart Kid - The Rich Dad Company

Grades
K to 12
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These activities provide an introduction to financial concepts and tips to getting on the right financial footing for a secure future. There are four different activities. Each contains...more
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These activities provide an introduction to financial concepts and tips to getting on the right financial footing for a secure future. There are four different activities. Each contains interactives by grade level-- up through high school. Even thought the cartoons appear juvenile, the concepts are adapted to be appropriate at each level. Concepts included are debt, making profit, and investing assets. In addition to the games, there is a portion of the site for adults. Here you will find lesson plans for each of the activities by grade level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12. Lesson plans include handouts, additional activities, questions for the classroom, and learning objectives.

tag(s): financial literacy (84), money (180)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for financial literacy activities. Create a link to grade-level interactives on classroom computers or computer lab computers after demonstrating how to play on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Differentiate activities for students using the grade-level option. After trying the interactives and completing classroom activities challenge students to create a newspaper article about finances using the Newspaper Clipping Generator.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget - New York Times

Grades
8 to 12
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Solve and share solutions to the U.S. budget crisis with this interactive site from the New York Times. The goal is to close the projected budget gaps for both 2015 ...more
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Solve and share solutions to the U.S. budget crisis with this interactive site from the New York Times. The goal is to close the projected budget gaps for both 2015 and 2030 by making cuts or eliminating programs currently offered by the federal government. As each item is chosen, graphs are updated demonstrating how close you are to closing the gap. Once you have closed the gap for both years a message lets you know how your plan can be shared via twitter or with a link specific with your choices. There is a printable PDF version which is perfect for classroom use.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): branches of government (47), charts and graphs (199), critical thinking (119), financial literacy (84), foreign policy (16), logic (235)

In the Classroom

Ask students to complete the PDF version offered on the site. After completion, allow students to share their thoughts via classroom discussion and journals. Explore the Room for the Debate section on the site to find out what others have discussed. Then ask students to do the exercise again to discover how thoughts have changed after discussion with other classmates. Share the best ideas (via URL) on your class website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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BizKids - American Public Television

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore the many facets of the business world on this approachable site. All information is tied in to the T.V. show entitled "BizKids" which was created to teach kids about ...more
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Explore the many facets of the business world on this approachable site. All information is tied in to the T.V. show entitled "BizKids" which was created to teach kids about money and business. The site is divided into several different sections - for teachers and for students. The teacher section includes lesson ideas that tie into videos available on the website. This can be found under the link "Cool Biz Stuff": five lessons are available in both English and Spanish.

Students can sign up to receive a newsletter with money tips just for them. Also included is a blog with links to other financial sites for kids. Most resources for students are located under "Cool Biz Stuff," then go to "Tools for Kids." Some of the tools include a financial calculator to determine what it takes to become a millionaire, sample business plans, allowance budgeting, and investment basics. Under "The Show" link, short video segments are available for review. Shows are geared toward increasing student interest through the use of familiar cultural icons such as "The Intern" and a parody of the T.V. show "24."
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (58), college (48), financial literacy (84), money (180)

In the Classroom

Watch the video on "How to Hold a Fundraiser" when planning a class economics project or before a school fundraiser event to get ideas on how to boost fundraising income. Watch a few of the short videos for creative ideas before creating classroom presentations of information studied in class. Divide up the online shows between students in your class and have students view and report back on the information presented in the videos. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. Ask students to create an economic plan using the allowance budget worksheet. Business teachers, family and consumer science classes, and young entrepreneurs will appreciate the many offerings on this site. College counselors will also want to share the college planning information.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Financial Education in the Math Classroom - The Math Forum @ Drexel University

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers in-depth information on finance topics including credit & debt and financial planning & money management. Each of these topics highlights tools and information available...more
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This site offers in-depth information on finance topics including credit & debt and financial planning & money management. Each of these topics highlights tools and information available to teach financial literacy. One example is the Debt Payoff Calculator which is a tool to help explore options for paying off debt and how changing factors will affect payoff rates, interest, and other options for paying off debt. Similar tools are available for analyzing monthly payments, paying off credit card debt, and more. You will need to create a free account to access the Financial Education Problems of the Week, but other resources are available without signing in. Be sure to check out Dr. Math Financial FAQ's on the right side of the page for more resources pertaining to loans, interest, and debt.

tag(s): calculators (42), coins (6), currency (19), financial literacy (84), investing (8), stock market (13)

In the Classroom

Use tools available on the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to explore how different factors influence finances. Have students predict outcomes before inputting information into the tools on the site. Use the tools when creating a mini-economy in the classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Financial Football - Ulsa, Inc.

Grades
8 to 12
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Help teens understand practical money skills using the interactive game of Financial Football. Teaching Modules include Fundamentals of Investment, Strength Training (Savings and Interest),...more
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Help teens understand practical money skills using the interactive game of Financial Football. Teaching Modules include Fundamentals of Investment, Strength Training (Savings and Interest), Defensive Spending, and The Game Plan (budgeting). Complete pdf teaching information is available for each module. Launch the game and get fired up for financial well-being, complete with theme music!

tag(s): financial literacy (84), money (180)

In the Classroom

Plan your financial unit to coincide with the SuperBowl or the opening of NFL football, then use these ready-made activities to train better consumers and money managers. As they do the activities and learn, challenge your sports-minded groups to write up an illustrated financial game plan on Canva, reviewed here. Imagine all the X's and O's! The less grid-oriented might to opt for creating an illustrated financial planbook using Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Frontline: Breaking the Bank - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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A website connected to an episode of Frontline, this site looks at the recent collapse of several large "superbanks," and how these bank failures have been connected to the general...more
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A website connected to an episode of Frontline, this site looks at the recent collapse of several large "superbanks," and how these bank failures have been connected to the general economic downturn. Many PBS shows' sites are built around the concept of having students "watch the show and discuss"; these require teachers to buy or find a copy of episode. However, this site includes access to the full episode (requires Flash), which can be viewed as a whole or in sections. The resource list is very comprehensive and would give students who are researching national or global economics many good sources. Finally, there is analysis, set up in Q&A format that stands alone, and could be used if you don't want to use classtime to view the video episode.

tag(s): banks (10), money (180), recession (3)

In the Classroom

Although this site deals with the 2008-2009 banking crisis at a level that is probably more in-depth than most teachers have the opportunity to deal with, it would be useful for an economics class or a recent American history class. You might consider some portions of it during a discussion of the Great Depression in the 1930s, to help students connect that economic time with the present. Finally, this might be a good resource site for students who are interested or who are working on more comprehensive projects. Why not have students create a multimedia presentation of their own demonstrating their understanding of the connection between the bank failures and the economic downturn. Have students create (and respond) on class wikis. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: Investing Money in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a short video (4-minutes) focusing on investing money. Learn about the stock market, savings, and basic economics. The site explains the risks and benefits of investing...more
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This site offers a short video (4-minutes) focusing on investing money. Learn about the stock market, savings, and basic economics. The site explains the risks and benefits of investing and saving money. There is a link provided to embed the video. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): investing (8), stock market (13)

In the Classroom

Share this video with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups research other aspects of economics or business and create their own videos. Share the videos on Teachertube (explained here).
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Video: Borrowing Money in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
5 to 12
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This short video demonstrates the risks, benefits, and realities of borrowing money. The video offers simple pictures to explain the complex topics. Despite a paid membership model,...more
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This short video demonstrates the risks, benefits, and realities of borrowing money. The video offers simple pictures to explain the complex topics. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): business (58), money (180)

In the Classroom

Share this video with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector or embed it in your class web page or wiki during your unit on credit or percent. Have cooperative learning groups research other aspects of savings, borrowing, or economics and create their own videos. Share the videos on Teachertube (explained here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: Saving Money in Plain English - Common Craft

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers a short introductory video about savings. Learn the basics of savings, compound interest, and how money continues to grow over time. Despite a paid membership model,...more
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This site offers a short introductory video about savings. Learn the basics of savings, compound interest, and how money continues to grow over time. Despite a paid membership model, Common Craft still offers this video for free, but it does have a watermark saying, "For evaluation only." If you wish to share this with a group, they will need to view it on individual/partner computers (or IOS devices) or on a projector that has a zoom function to enlarge a selected area of the screen.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): money (180)

In the Classroom

Share this video with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups research other aspects of economics and create their own videos. Include this video as you teach about interest in math class, then have students create a video advertisement for a savings program. Share the videos on Teachertube (explained here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Stock Market - Finance - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
5 to 12
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for the Stock Market. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Stock Market...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for the Stock Market. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Stock Market related vocabulary words. You will also find printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): money (180), stock market (13)

In the Classroom

Have students work in cooperative learning groups, divide up the vocabulary words, and have each group find the definitions for their assigned vocabulary words. Have the groups share their words and definitions in an online book, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If you don't have the time to complete online books, have students share the definitions using a class wiki. Be sure to also check out the interactive word puzzles!

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Schwab MoneyWise - Charles Schwab

Grades
9 to 12
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This is a nice informational site for students, teachers, and parents. Learn about budgeting, saving, and investing. Use the calculators to determine interest, savings, and more. This...more
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This is a nice informational site for students, teachers, and parents. Learn about budgeting, saving, and investing. Use the calculators to determine interest, savings, and more. This site has polls, tips, articles of interest, and a link for teachers. At the teachers' link, you will find lesson ideas, true stories of teachers "in the trenches," and other links. There are also downloadable PDF files of teaching guides and student activities.

tag(s): money (180)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson ideas at this site to help your high school students understand economics. Take advantage of the free teaching guides and student worksheets.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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High School Financial Planning Program - National Endowment for Financial Education

Grades
8 to 12
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If you are teaching students about the economy, budgeting, debt, or other topics of "money" - don't miss this site! Highlights include six programs of study (Money Management, Borrowing,...more
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If you are teaching students about the economy, budgeting, debt, or other topics of "money" - don't miss this site! Highlights include six programs of study (Money Management, Borrowing, Earning Power, Investing, Financial Services, and Insurance). Each program has a 40-page, stand-alone Student Guide (PDF files). There are also articles and interactives. The interactives are incredibly useful (although they are called Games). The Games include "Live to Work? Or Work to Live," "Education: Worth It?," "Paper or Plastic," and several others. Another great feature of this site is that it is also available in Spanish.

tag(s): money (180)

In the Classroom

There are many ways to incorporate this website into your plans and help your students prepare for their financial futures. Download entire units to use with your class. There are countless activities presented with each unit. An economics class could focus on one new unit each week (or even month). Demonstrate the Games on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students try out the "real life" economics interactives on their own computers. Download (and print) copies of the unit. Have students work in cooperative learning groups to read through the units and complete the activities.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kid's Finance - kidsfinance.com

Grades
1 to 6
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This simple site offers a basic introduction to money and financing for younger students. The site has two main "characters" Penny and Bill. There is biographical information...more
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This simple site offers a basic introduction to money and financing for younger students. The site has two main "characters" Penny and Bill. There is biographical information about various "bills" of money, a matching game, and puzzles. There are printable pages, reference information, and other useful tools. There is a link to purchase a coinciding book; the site is FREE and usable without the book.

tag(s): money (180)

In the Classroom

Get some basic ideas at this site. Everything here is quick and simple. You will want to supplement with other information about the economy and money.

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Bank Rate - bankrate.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This simple site provides a calculator to figure out how long it will take for you to pay off credit card debt. They ask a few simple questions (how much ...more
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This simple site provides a calculator to figure out how long it will take for you to pay off credit card debt. They ask a few simple questions (how much you owe, what percentage rate your card has, current monthly payments, etc). Then they present you with WHEN your debt will be paid in full and how much interest will cost you during that time.

In the Classroom

If your students are starting to use credit cards, share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Practical Money Skills - Practical Money Skills for Life

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers lots of information on money management for students of all ages, including college students. Click on the Education tab at the top and select your grade level...more
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This site offers lots of information on money management for students of all ages, including college students. Click on the Education tab at the top and select your grade level to find lesson plans, curriculum ideas, classroom resources, and more. The lesson plans include a PowerPoint presentation for the lesson (also in PDF format) and student activities. Though some look gray as if they aren't accessible, they are, so just click or double click on them and they will be downloaded to your computer. Help high school students succeed financially after high school with the 22 free, standards-aligned lessons that this site has revamped for grades 9-12. This section includes student-centered activities, research projects, discussion points, and resources. Clicking on the Games tab will display many games at different grade levels. Especially interesting for high school and college students will be the Financial Football. Only the games require Flash. This site is fully accessible with no registration.

tag(s): financial literacy (84), money (180)

In the Classroom

There are countless options and ideas about how to use this site in your classroom. Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Take advantage of the FREE lesson plans to teach your students about money and the economy. Use the free, standards-aligned lessons in sequence or on an individual basis. If financial literacy is not part of your Common Core Standards for math, think about making the activities and/or games a weekly center or activity on the computers in your classroom or the school computer lab. Also, look through the videos listed to see if there are any that are age appropriate for your students.
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Economic Education Web - University of Omaha

Grades
K to 12
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Although this site is "plain vanilla," we seldom see anything as useful as this one. The site contains an extensive collection of standards-correlated lesson plans for teaching principles...more
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Although this site is "plain vanilla," we seldom see anything as useful as this one. The site contains an extensive collection of standards-correlated lesson plans for teaching principles of economics at all K-12 levels. The content is drawn from a variety of sources, and some of the presentations are in the form of printable PDF files. While a number of the lessons and resources are centered on standards in Nebraska, there are correlations to national standards, and most of the material could be used elsewhere, sometimes with minor adaptations. This is one that every social studies or economics teacher should see.

Examples of topics for the K-5 students include Shortages and Surpluses, Consumers/Consumption, Functions of Money, and countless others. Grade 6-8 topics include Role of the Government, Unemployment, Economic Growth, and many others. Some of the higher level topics for grades 9-12 include Circular Flow, Market Failures, Federal Reserve, and much more! Many of the topics include more than one lesson plan or classroom activity. A few of the topics are "under construction" as new material is constantly added. Some of the printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans at all grade levels. Anyone who teachers social studies or economics can easily find an appropriate lesson plan (linked to standards). Use these lessons to help students understand the economy, learn new vocabulary words, and deepen their understanding on money.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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All of Inflation's Little Parts - The New York Times

Grades
7 to 12
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what...more
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what does that mean? This graphic, designed by the New York Times, is the kind of visual presentation that can really help put this discussion into perspective. Presented as an amped-up version of the traditional pie chart, the chart shows what percentage of the average consumer's spending is devoted to everything from cable TV to gas to fast food to postage. The graphic also shows the relative increase or decrease in that cost over the past year. For example, students may enjoy seeing the comparison between money spent on men's clothing versus that spent on women's clothing, with additional comparative data on shoes, accessories, and children's clothes! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

This relatively simple graphic has a very wide variety of possible applications. If you teach personal finance and budgeting, students can use this chart to compare the average American's spending with their own. If you teach economics, the fact that the items that have increased the most in the past year are gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, and eggs (OK, eggs?) will bear out the impact of the rise in the cost of crude oil and the chaos in the middle east. If you teach civics or government, you can show how the changes in the economy affect what citizens want from their politicians. If you teach math, the graphic's real-life data could be used as a basis for computation and problem solving. Because it's Flash-enabled, the "mouse over" effects and the ability to zoom in and out to see greater detail (how much does the average American spends on ham versus turkey? It's on there!). This site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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