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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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): financial literacy (109), money (184)

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. Transform technology use by using (click on the tool name to access the review): Animatron, Renderforest, Powtoon, or Rooclick. 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): financial literacy (109), money (184), 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

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6 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): financial literacy (109), money (184)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson ideas at this site to help your 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. Another great feature of this site is that it is also available in Spanish.

tag(s): financial literacy (109), money (184)

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). Download (and print) copies of the unit. Have students work in cooperative learning groups to read through the units and complete the activities. Enhance classroom technology by asking student to take notes about what they learn using Webnote, reviewed here; tell students to be sure to save the URL to share their notes and questions with you and their peers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kid's Finance - kidsfinance.com

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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): financial literacy (109), money (184)

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.

tag(s): financial literacy (109)

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 - Visa

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 Teach 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 Teach 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, reviewed here. Only the games require Flash. This site is fully accessible with no registration.

tag(s): financial literacy (109), money (184)

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
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Although this site is "plain vanilla," and is for 6-8 lessons, click Teacher Resources on the top menu. We seldom see anything as useful as this one. The site contains ...more
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Although this site is "plain vanilla," and is for 6-8 lessons, click Teacher Resources on the top menu. 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.

tag(s): financial literacy (109), money (184)

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!

tag(s): financial literacy (109)

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

Grades
6 to 12
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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,...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 (55), financial literacy (109), money (184)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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