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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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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Finance Freak - Coolmath.com

Grades
6 to 12
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This website demonstrates the basics of finance for teenagers. There are seven general topics. The first topic is the basics of banking (types of banks and accounts, how banks work,...more
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This website demonstrates the basics of finance for teenagers. There are seven general topics. The first topic is the basics of banking (types of banks and accounts, how banks work, etc..). The second is the math of money (compound interest, annuities and more). The third is all about owing money (such as credit cards or student loans). The fourth topic is credit ratings. The fifth topic is all about investing (stocks, mutual funds, bonds, CDs and others are all included). The sixth topic (probably a student-favorite) is learning how to be smart and rich (spend wisely and plan for the future). The seventh area provides financial calculators for a mortgage, a car, investments, and more!

This curricular content may match up with your math, FCS, economics, social studies, careers, or business classes. Students (and adults) can all learn more about financial options at this fabulous website. Do your students a favor and teach them these "real-life" skills today. Portions of this site require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): banks (11), business (58), consumers (21), investing (10), money (193), percent (82)

In the Classroom

Share the aspects of the site that fit your curriculum on laptops or an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as you assign students to make their own financial plans or learn about compounding interest. Assign them mini-scavenger hunt activities within this site to learn basic financial survival. Be sure to share the link on your teacher web page, as well, since the content will surely interest your eager spenders to visit on their own outside of class, as well.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Mint: Fun Financial Literacy Activities for Kids, Teens, Parents and Teachers - Northwestern Mutual Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Economics and the stock market have taken center stage since the crises of 2008. This site provides a nice overview of the world of personal investment including sections on earning,...more
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Economics and the stock market have taken center stage since the crises of 2008. This site provides a nice overview of the world of personal investment including sections on earning, saving, spending, investing, giving, owing, safeguarding, and tracking. There are also a number of interactive features that can provide insight into the student's attitudes toward money. Online calculators help students understand how finance charges affect the "bottom line" for purchases bought on credit, and how saving in interest-bearing accounts can increase assets. The "Ideas for Teachers" link includes lesson plans and other tips for using the site in an educational setting. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (58), money (193)

In the Classroom

This site provides some great tools for use by students in a personal finance or "Real World" class, as well as information to supplement a discussion of economics or current events. You could also use it as a real world application of many math concepts or team teach middle school math and social studies together. Consider assigning the interactive quizzes as independent work, and using the topical overviews to accompany a lecture or class discussion. One drawback: the "sounds" that accompany mousing over your choices are very distracting. Consider turning down the sound (or hitting mute) on your computer if you use this site on an interactive whiteboard. Challenge students to write "financial" blogs offering advice, based on the information learned at this site. Or assign them to demonstrate competence with concepts such as per cent and interest by creating a financial advice column for a student online newspaper.
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