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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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 (80), money (193)

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

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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 asThingLink, 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Frontline: Breaking the Bank - PBS

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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 (11), money (193), 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

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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 (10), 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).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Video: Borrowing Money in Plain English - Common Craft

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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 (193)

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 (193)

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

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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 (193), 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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Tips for Life - American Century Investments

Grades
6 to 12
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This site offers "Tips for Life" for students about economics and money. The modules (topics)include "Creating Confidence," "Mastering Information," "Investing In Your Future", and...more
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This site offers "Tips for Life" for students about economics and money. The modules (topics)include "Creating Confidence," "Mastering Information," "Investing In Your Future", and "Managing Your Business." Most of the material is aligned to national standards. This comprehensive program places students in "real-life" situations in the world of business, money, and finance. There is a section for teachers and students. The teacher section allows teachers to enroll students, view progress, determine score, and much more. Don't miss the Teacher's Guide: introduction, classroom ideas, details about the modules, and more.

Be warned: to register you must give full demographic information to gain free access. If your school prohibits this, you may want to create some generic student accounts, or register at home. Even if you only register as a teacher and do not keep track of student progress, you can still gain many valuable teaching ideas from the modules. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many free resource ideas at this site. Share sample activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in groups to complete one of the many "real life" projects provided in the learning modules. Bring some technology into the lessons, by having the groups complete a multi-media project about their "real life" assignment: video, blog, wiki, or even a PowerPoint presentation.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Tips For Kids - American Century Investments

Grades
4 to 12
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This site features many modules (similar to lesson plans) in PDF format all related to money and economics. You can download the ENTIRE curriculum FREE! Each module includes four units...more
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This site features many modules (similar to lesson plans) in PDF format all related to money and economics. You can download the ENTIRE curriculum FREE! Each module includes four units of study. Module topics include Business Building, Mastering Finance, Economic Encounters, and Money & Me. There are also links to articles about finance (What is a Bond, Risk and Return, and others). At the "Resources" link there are four interesting calculators: Dollar Cost Averaging, Expected After-Tax Return, Staying Ahead of Inflation, and Time Value. Even though the stated grade levels go up through middle school, many of these could also be used with high school business, econ, or "life after high school" classes. This site does require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): consumers (21), investing (10), money (193)

In the Classroom

The activities at this site are ready to go, printable, and easy to follow. Although this site isn't highly interactive, the lessons are very practical and timely. Tie together your social studies, current events, and math classes with a unit found at this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The History of Money - The History Channel

Grades
6 to 12
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With the news dominated by problems with the world economy, this site on this history of money might provide a good baseline for further discussion. The video gallery features historic...more
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With the news dominated by problems with the world economy, this site on this history of money might provide a good baseline for further discussion. The video gallery features historic newsreel clips and other content associated with currency and economics. An image gallery shows the history of US coinage. There is a page of quotes related to money as well as a resources page with links to other sites with further information. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): currency (20), great depression (24), money (193)

In the Classroom

Use the video clips to introduce a lesson or reinforce content on the history of the Great Depression, or the significance of the gold standard, for example. Use the "coined phrases" as writing prompts or as thoughts to ponder, posted in the classroom. The interactive timeline shows the history of US currency and would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Kids Bank - Sovereign Bank

Grades
3 to 6
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This site, ideal for elementary students, offers some basic information about money. There are "characters" that teach students: Penny, Interest Ray, Mr. EFT (electronic funds transfer),...more
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This site, ideal for elementary students, offers some basic information about money. There are "characters" that teach students: Penny, Interest Ray, Mr. EFT (electronic funds transfer), and others. Each character offers a basic slideshow of information about their topic. There are also interactive quizzes and calculators.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

This is a nice site to introduce young students to economics. It is ideal for a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students work in cooperative learning groups and assign each group a "character" to explore. Have the groups create a multi-media presentation to share with the class: video, wiki, blog, PowerPoint, or other.

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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 (193)

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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My Bread: NEFE 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 seven units of study (Financial Planning, Budgeting,...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 seven units of study (Financial Planning, Budgeting, Investing, Good Debt and Bad Debt, and others). You can easily download entire units (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. The site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): money (193)

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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Sense and Dollars - Maryland Public Television

Grades
6 to 12
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Plan your dream job, pretend to live on your own, pay bills, and decide what the "important" extras are at this site. There are links to interactives that help you ...more
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Plan your dream job, pretend to live on your own, pay bills, and decide what the "important" extras are at this site. There are links to interactives that help you learn to save, spend, and earn money! You can even plan a "dream prom" budget. Students learn about money and economics as they practice living in the "real world." There is a Teachers' Guide, although it is tricky to find. Click on the GO button and then the Info link. Here you will find a link to a Teachers' Guide and Parents' Guide. The guides provide statistics about students (and adults) knowledge of money, standards, lesson ideas, tutorials, technology tips, and links for more information. You MUST turn off any pop-up blockers to fully access this site!

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Have students work on individual computers and explore this site. There are many options to print off pages that they complete (for example, the mock budget that they create in Check It Out). Visit the "Teachers' Guide" to get more ideas about how to use this website in your math, social studies, or economics class.

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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 (193)

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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Welcome to Planet Orange - ING Direct

Grades
4 to 8
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This site is truly a MUST-SEE for anyone teaching economics and finance. In today's world, everyone could use a better understanding of this complex topic. Some of the highlights of...more
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This site is truly a MUST-SEE for anyone teaching economics and finance. In today's world, everyone could use a better understanding of this complex topic. Some of the highlights of the site include interactives explaining countless topics of "money," links for teachers with 20+ lesson plans, classroom ideas, links for parents, and more.

To begin your adventure, choose your student guide, Cedric or Amy. They will take you on a tour of the four continents on Planet Orange: Republic of Saving, Moneyland, Investor Islands, and South Spending. Each continent includes interactives, information, and an online quiz.

Teachers, be sure to visit the Teacher Resource Center. The center includes lesson plans, printable pages, "Certificate of Achievement" to print for students, answer keys, curriculum matrix, and more. Using the Teacher Resource Center requires registering with the website. Registration is FREE but does require some demographic information and an email address. Students DO NOT need to register to use the student portion of the site. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

As a teacher, the best place to begin the adventure is the Teacher Resource Center. Although this feature does require registration, it is well worth your time. The ideas at this site are simply to use, in "kid-friendly terms," and ready to go. Since there are four continents at Planet Orange, why not divide your class into four teams. Have each team explore one of the continents and prepare a video sharing what they have learned. Share the videos on TeacherTube (explained here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (80), money (193)

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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Economic Education Web - University of Omaha

Grades
K to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
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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Consumer Jungle

Grades
9 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This is a well-structured site targeted to students and teachers, with separate sections for each. The topics include common encounters with credit, financial planning, and budgets...more
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This is a well-structured site targeted to students and teachers, with separate sections for each. The topics include common encounters with credit, financial planning, and budgets that young people are likely to encounter as they complete high school. The presentation is interesting without preaching, though teachers will need to bolster the thin lesson outlines if they use them. There is also a list of 50 Common Financial Pitfalls. There is a neat Money Skills Life Simulation. In addition, students can click to learn about the "Fraud of the Month." Most of these topics include a PowerPoint presentation and brief lesson plan. This could be a good start for a simulation or class activity. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Share various portions of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students try the simulation on their own. Did they reach their financial goals? The Fraud of the Month would be a good way to share a new topic (about money and the economy) each week. There are at least twenty that are ready to go from previous months. Be sure to visit the Teachers link. You do NOT have to join to use this fabulous tool.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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