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.

 

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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 (54), money (167)

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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Living Wage Calculator - Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier

Grades
8 to 12
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Living Wage Calculator provides information to estimate the cost of living in any community or region. Enter a location in the search box or choose from the state list to ...more
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Living Wage Calculator provides information to estimate the cost of living in any community or region. Enter a location in the search box or choose from the state list to begin. Results are provided for an entire state, county, or specific city. The "calculator" provides typical expenses for the location along with living wage, poverty wage, and minimum wage. View typical wages for different occupations in that location. The wages at poverty level are indicated in red.

tag(s): careers (105), financial literacy (54)

In the Classroom

This site would be excellent for use during a unit on careers, economics, or financial literacy. Allow students to explore pay for different career options not only in your city but in different locations across the country. Have students create magazine covers using Magazine Cover Maker reviewed here. Use this site during Family and Consumer Science units to explore the cost of living and typical salaries across the United States. Have students put together a mythical "budget" for living in their chosen career.

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TV411 - Finance - Adult Literacy Media Alliance

Grades
6 to 12
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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...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 (54), money (167)

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.

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Clay Piggy - Clay Piggy

Grades
3 to 5
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Learn about the value of money using Clay Piggy. Create an avatar, get a job, and earn and spend money. The goal of the game is to keep a positive ...more
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Learn about the value of money using Clay Piggy. Create an avatar, get a job, and earn and spend money. The goal of the game is to keep a positive money rating, B or above.

tag(s): counting (112), financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

This is great site to use when you are teaching your unit on economics. This site requires that an adult approves the student accounts. Once the accounts are approved, they can add each other as buddies. Introduce the site using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then bring students to the computer lab or use a class set of laptops and have the students "play" the game each day during the unit of study. At the end of the unit give an award to the top three students who managed their money the best.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Tracking American Poverty & Policy - Demos

Grades
6 to 12
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Take an interactive look at poverty in America. Begin with an overall look at poverty statistics; then follow the links to break down information by race, gender, and more. Click ...more
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Take an interactive look at poverty in America. Begin with an overall look at poverty statistics; then follow the links to break down information by race, gender, and more. Click on each pie chart to receive additional information and statistics. Other areas of the website include articles discussing economic issues, links to publications, and multimedia links to discussions on poverty. You can change the year from which the stats are displayed (from 1967 through 2010) so it is very useful to compare the statistics.

tag(s): 1960s (26), 1970s (8), 1980s (6), demographics (13)

In the Classroom

The interactive graphics are perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard or projector. View statistics together as a class then have your class research statistics for your community. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of your community to national statistics or to compare years or decades.

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TipJar: Take a Tip, Share a Tip - Google

Grades
4 to 12
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Submit a suggestion on Tip Jar! Some of the general topic areas include food, finance, travel, kids & family, and others. Find money saving tips from organizations like americasaves.org,...more
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Submit a suggestion on Tip Jar! Some of the general topic areas include food, finance, travel, kids & family, and others. Find money saving tips from organizations like americasaves.org, betterbudgeting.com, and choosetosave. Find tips for yourself, add your own ideas, and vote on the usefulness of specific tips.

tag(s): financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

Include the tip jar as a resource with your unit on personal finance. Have students submit questions and comments for the tips, individually or using a class account. Use the TipJar idea as an model for tips on for classroom behavior, study habits, striving to be your best, and leadership qualities. Use the idea by creating your own Tip Jar Wiki for your classroom to share study tips, homework help, and more. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Credit Report 101 - YourWealthPuzzle.com

Grades
6 to 12
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What is a credit score? Why is it important? How do you build a credit score? Find answers to these and more with this puzzle/infographic. Follow through the puzzle to ...more
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What is a credit score? Why is it important? How do you build a credit score? Find answers to these and more with this puzzle/infographic. Follow through the puzzle to find out what information is used in a credit score and the best way to build your credit.

tag(s): banks (8), financial literacy (54)

In the Classroom

Embed the puzzle/infographic in a wiki using the embed code found above the puzzle. Students can research the basic aspects of the credit score and add more information to help others. Create discussions about the aspects of credit building. Discuss the best ways to rebuild a credit score as well. Generate a list of personality traits or activities that a person would have or do if they were a person with a poor credit score or one with a better credit score. Have students create a public service announcement (video) or poster to help fellow teens get off on the right foor with their credit.

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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 (54), money (167)

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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Spent - McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham

Grades
8 to 12
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This employment/economics site leads you through the process of looking for a job, trying to make it through the month on a limited income, understanding the repercussions of participating...more
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This employment/economics site leads you through the process of looking for a job, trying to make it through the month on a limited income, understanding the repercussions of participating in a strike, and facing a time when there is no money. It is similar to a "real life" choose your own adventure. Most choices offer three options and share some pros/cons for each. After you select the job you would like to try for, the activity leads you to the requirements and possible pre-tests. If you do not qualify, you must apply for one of the remaining and less desirable jobs. Once you choose your job, you learn about costs of health insurance, taxes, housing, transportation, child care, and more.

tag(s): financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

Use this site when you are teaching budgeting or learning about poverty in America. Business classes or courses on "life in the real world" will benefit from trying the entire simulation. Challenge students to work this site individually and keep notes of the choices/consequences they discovered on their path. Have them write blog entries based on their experiences. If individual computers aren't available, share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create online "how to" books on surviving the challenges learned about on the website using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
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Comments

Great game! The students at our alternative school LOVED it! Nonya, NC, Grades: 9 - 12
Superb site. I use this a lot! , OH, Grades: 10 - 12

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Tax Basics for Middle Schoolers: intuit - Scholastic

Grades
5 to 9
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Scholastic teamed up with Mint.com to create this financial literacy program for middle-school students. There are 2 one hour lessons and 2 bonus lessons. Each lesson also includes...more
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Scholastic teamed up with Mint.com to create this financial literacy program for middle-school students. There are 2 one hour lessons and 2 bonus lessons. Each lesson also includes links to related articles, resources, worksheets, and online activities. Be sure to check out the online activities which provide engaging practice with the concepts from the lessons.

tag(s): financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson plans to teach the financial literary concepts then allow students to explore the online activities on their own at a center or in the computer lab. After completing the worksheets provided with the lessons, have students create their own worksheets for other classmates to complete. Challenge students to create their own financial literacy newsletter for students in their school including money-saving suggestions, job ideas for students, and tips for creating a budget. Have students create posters sharing their newsletter using a site such as Padlet (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (37), charts and graphs (176), critical thinking (64), financial literacy (54), foreign policy (10), logic (198)

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 (50), college (41), financial literacy (54), money (167)

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 Tabblo 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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U.S. National Debt Clock: Real Time - USDebtClock.org

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers an interesting, visual look at the U. S. National Debt in real time. Many different categories are included making this quite complicated looking; however it offers...more
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This site offers an interesting, visual look at the U. S. National Debt in real time. Many different categories are included making this quite complicated looking; however it offers a real-time snapshot of the country's complicated balance sheet. In addition to the National Debt, there are categories for debt per person and amount of debt per taxpayer. Other statistics include largest budget items, money creation, U.S. population, and much more. Definitions and sources of information can be found by mousing over the item, then looking at the U.S. debt logo at the top of the page.

tag(s): charts and graphs (176), data (130), financial literacy (54), statistics (100)

In the Classroom

Display this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector for students to view the ever-changing amount of U.S. debt and other statistics. Create a graph by recording daily debt amounts over a period of time for students to observe and discuss. Research and find debt statistics for previous years for students to compare.

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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 (31), coins (8), currency (17), financial literacy (54), investing (8), stock market (10)

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.
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I Rule Money - DoughMain

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers informative 30 second videos to answer teens' questions on different financial matters related to their lives. Choose from categories such as credit and debt, housing,...more
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This site offers informative 30 second videos to answer teens' questions on different financial matters related to their lives. Choose from categories such as credit and debt, housing, cars, jobs, and more. Within each category are questions from typical teenagers with links to the video response. Banking & Loans questions include "How can I get a college loan," "Why do some ATM's charge me a fee to withdraw money," and other bank-related concerns.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): financial aid (10), financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

Use these short videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce financial literacy topics in the classroom. Share videos with students as models then have them create their own 30 second video response to other financial topics discussed in class. Share the videos using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Your Life, Your Money - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This site accompanies a PBS series on money management, however, the entire series is available to video stream from the website. Pick and choose from segments such as making money,...more
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This site accompanies a PBS series on money management, however, the entire series is available to video stream from the website. Pick and choose from segments such as making money, getting out of debt, saving money, understanding insurance, and entrepreneurship. Along with each segment, there is a facilitator's guide, web exclusive content, activities and simulations. There is a comment section associated with the site, and limited advertising for other PBS products, so preview before making available to students. A written transcript of the segments can be made available to ELL/ESL students.

tag(s): money (167)

In the Classroom

The nature of this site makes it especially conducive to a "learn at your own pace" approach to managing money. Students can access areas of interest, dig as deeply as they are interested into the associated activities, and tailor their own experience. Alternatively, the video segments might be shown on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and students could work in groups on the activities. Finally, you might choose to isolate particular activities and use them in conjunction with your regular curriculum and lessons, and skip the video segments completely. Create a class wiki to discuss budgeting, debt, savings, and more. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Budget Simulator - Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Grades
8 to 12
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So often we hear impassioned cries for causes that deserve more governmental funding. At the same time, we know that the government already spends more money than it has. A ...more
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So often we hear impassioned cries for causes that deserve more governmental funding. At the same time, we know that the government already spends more money than it has. A balanced federal budget seems little more than a fantasy. Do students think they can do better? This simulation exercise (it's too important a topic to refer to as a game), guides students through the difficult choices our governments needs to make if it is to balance the federal government. Cut the military? Cut healthcare spending? Cut services for the needy? Once you've made the choices, the simulator will deliver the outcome: were you able to balance the budget by cutting over $1.3 billion in spending?

tag(s): politics (80)

In the Classroom

This would make a wonderful class team competition. Consider dividing the class into groups, or even pitting different sections of the same course against each other. Encourage the students not to breeze through the choices too quickly. The site might be useful for mature younger students if they have the attention span required to make careful and reasoned choices. Another option is to complete this activity as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Online Personal Finance and Economics Game - Council for Economic Education

Grades
5 to 12
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This online interactive personal finance game has students work their way through 15 personal finance missions. Within each 30-minute mission, students are asked to help someone solve...more
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This online interactive personal finance game has students work their way through 15 personal finance missions. Within each 30-minute mission, students are asked to help someone solve a personal finance situation. Students create, choose teams and use online tools like the mission brief and geo-locator to help solve the mission.

tag(s): financial literacy (54), money (167)

In the Classroom

Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have students work together to form their mission groups and create a friendly competition within your class. Another option is to work on this as a whole class and compete against another classroom. Use the training videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector to prepare students for the missions. Have students blog or journal their experiences as they complete each mission. Lesson plans and materials are available at an additional cost. Teachers can sign up for their class.
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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 (54), money (167)

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 Glogster EDU, 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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Reuters: Times of Crisis - Reuters

Grades
9 to 12
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See a visual timeline of the worldwide economic crisis beginning in 2008, from the point of view of a non-U.S. source. Reuters shares 365 days of upheaval beginning in fall, ...more
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See a visual timeline of the worldwide economic crisis beginning in 2008, from the point of view of a non-U.S. source. Reuters shares 365 days of upheaval beginning in fall, 2008 via pictures, captions, videos, articles, facts, and more in a highly interactive timeline.

In the Classroom

Explore the timeline on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a class or ask students or groups to explore it on their own, looking for key points and terms that help them better understand this complex crisis. Ask student "guides" to trace and elaborate on trends they find or to highlight key moments as they explain orally to the class. Have students respond to a single image using an online tool to narrate an image such as Voicethread reviewed here or in a blog post. Find an event to which they can connect from their own personal or family perspective. Compare these vignettes with others from the Great Depression photos of great photographers. Keep the link to this interactive timeline on your class web page or wiki as a reference or as a venue for sharing students responses.
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