Saturday, March 20, 2010

For the Love of Money

Do you love to spend money? Most Americans do. I recently read that about 43% of American families spend more money than they earn each year. That’s a horrifying statistic, and one that obviously deserves attention. The ability to understand money, and how to make informed decisions regarding money management, is the basis of financial literacy. The current economic recession has also spurred lawmakers to re-examine the importance of early intervention, and the need to beef up financial literacy courses in American schools. The following resources are a sampling of financial literacy lesson plans by Thirteen Ed Online, the educational Web component of WNET, PBS’s leading station in New York. Thirteen Ed Online offers free standards-based lesson plans and classroom activities, online mentors, workshops, and online reviews of curriculum-based Web sites in addition to instructional television. All lessons are aligned to McREL and NCTM standards. It’s our hope that resources like these will keep your students “talkin’ ‘bout cash money – dollar bills, y’all” – but in a financially literate way.

Cyber Currency, Currently
Subjects: Economics, Math, Finance
Grade: 4-6

Ever heard someone complain that the barter system would be simpler or more effective than using currency? In this unit, students learn the limitations of the barter system, and understand the traits of an effective system of currency. The lessons use games and an episode of the PBS show Cyberchase to teach students the value of currency, how to save money, and earn simple interest. The unit offers some great hands-on learning opportunities, such as incorporating a classroom general store from which students can “purchase” items, converting foreign currency, and lots of other extension activities to help kids learn the importance of being financially literate.

Why Does Money Have Value?
Subjects: Economics, Math, Finance
Grade: 6-8

Ask your students (or most adults, for that matter) why money has value, and you’re likely to be met with vacant expressions. Just why does money have value, anyway? This lesson examines the evolution of money and its financial worth, how goods are valued in different currencies, and the necessary structure and means for the exchange of goods. Additionally, students also learn the basics of financial markets, and, through an extension activity, they can research the currencies and exports of various countries.

Finance and Responsible Lending
Subjects: Economics, Math, Finance
Grade: 9-12

Subprime mortgages were a major player in the financial meltdown that has resulted in our current economic recession. Poised on the brink of adulthood, high school students need to know how banks function, and how money is borrowed and lent. The sheer number of Americans who either ignored or simply didn’t understand the banking process and how money is loaned underscores how vital it is to master this content. This lesson discusses the basic concepts of creditworthiness, consumer credit, and interest rates. Students analyze the types of services that banks provide, and why. They also learn how financial institutions decide who is a candidate to receive credit, and how interest rates are set on different types of loans.

~Joann's Picks~

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