Resources and Lesson Plans for Financial Literacy
Educators from Ariel Community Academy, in Chicago, have provided lesson plans and Web resources to help you get started.
Judith Shelton (right), curriculum director at Ariel Community Academy (left), explains that a point of success for their K-8 financial-literacy curriculum is when students understand how school is directly connected to achieving their life goals.
Credit: Zachary Fink
Resources on This Page:
- Documents to Help You Get Started -- Lesson Plans
- Culture at Ariel Community Academy
- Additional Resources on the Web
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Documents to Help You Get Started -- Lesson Plans
Below is a sample lesson about goods and services provided by Ariel Community Academy. Connie Moran, the investments teacher for grades 6-8, explained how the lesson works: "These lessons are not by grade level, but progress in difficulty. We felt that following Bloom's Taxonomy would allow the curriculum to be adaptable to the students' needs, not necessarily their grade. For example, if a classroom has never been exposed to a concept at 6th grade, the teacher would be able to begin at the remembering stage if necessary. However, if the group is more advanced, the teacher could begin at the analyzing or creating stage."
- Goods and Services Unit
Entire unit on goods and services with five lessons (see individual lessons below). Unit essential question: How are goods and services produced, consumed, and exchanged to satisfy needs and wants? Unit covers key concepts such as scarcity, allocation, trade, money, inflation, and economic standards.
Examples below are individual lessons from the Goods and Services Unit. Although Ariel progresses through the lessons using Bloom's Taxonomy to determine the class's level, the sequence below shows how the lessons could also progress by grade.
4th Grade Lesson -- Define and give examples of goods as objects that satisfy people's wants and services as activities performed by people, firms, or government agencies to satisfy economic wants.
5th Grade Lesson -- Explain that economic wants are desires that can be satisfied by consuming a good or service or leisure activity and explain why not all wants can be satisfied.
6th Grade Lesson -- Diagram the relationship among a final good or service, the way it’s produced, and who consumes and produces it. Define capital goods and compare market value of different goods and services.
7th Grade Lesson -- Compare different ways resources are used to buy and consume goods and services and give examples of how technology has improved how goods and services are produced and provided.
8th Grade Lesson -- Explain scarcity and how not all wants for goods and services can be satisfied because people's wants exceed the quantity of goods and services that can be produced using all available resources.
For grades K-3, Ariel uses the Financial Fitness for Life curriculum, developed by the Council for Economic Education.
Council for Economic Education -- Organization that focuses on economic and financial education for K-12 students
EconEdLink -- Council for Economic Education's resource website containing economics and personal-finance lessons for K-12 teachers and students
EconEdLink Lesson: Delivering the Goods -- Lesson for grades K-2 about providers of goods and services; includes interactive activity
EconEdLink Lesson: Goods and Services -- Lesson for grades 3-8 on government vs. private goods and services
Culture at Ariel Community Academy
- Ariel Community Academy Pledge
Pledge said aloud each morning in class by all Ariel students and teachers
- Ariel Community Academy Powerful Beyond Measure
Character education program created for Ariel by curriculum director Judith Shelton
- Ariel Community Academy Three Imperatives
Ariel's three imperatives that drive teaching and learning including writing, presentation skills, and decision-making and problem-solving.
- Ariel Community Academy 8th Grade Schedule
Ariel does not have the same bell schedule for the entire school. This sample 8th grade schedule shows how economics and financial literacy classes are scheduled everyday.
Additional Resources on the Web
Ariel Community Academy -- Ariel Community Academy website
Ariel Investments - Ariel Community Academy -- Overview of Ariel Investments and their relationship with Ariel Community Academy
Ariel Investments -- Ariel Investments corporate website
Ariel Education Initiative -- Ariel Investments foundation primarily focused on Ariel Community Academy and its investment curriculum
Economic Awareness Council -- Nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare students and families for financial decisions
Econ Ed Mobile Learning App -- Free iPhone app created by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that allows you to visualize and understand how inflation and the cost of credit can affect your spending and saving decisions
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago -- Homepage for Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Gen I Revolution -- Free online game where middle and high school students learn personal finance skills as they compete against fellow classmates
Jump$tart Coalition -- National coalition of organizations focused on advancing financial literacy among students in pre-kindergarten through college
Junior Achievement Chicago -- Nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare students and families for financial decisions
National Endowment for Financial Education -- Private, nonprofit, national foundation dedicated to improving the financial well-being of all Americans
National Financial Education Center -- Organization committed to promoting financial responsibility nationwide through educational programs, counseling, and personalized services
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship -- Organization providing programs to encourage young people from low-income communities to stay in school and plan for a successful future
The Stock Market Game -- Free simulated stock market game where students can manage a portfolio within real-world settings
More Edutopia Resources about Financial Literacy
- Financial Literacy: Making Sense of Dollars and Cents
- The Bucks Start Here: A Hands-On Approach to Personal Finance
- How to Teach the Soft Side of Business
- Take It to the Bank: Students Learn to Manage Their Money
- Kids Invest in Funds -- and Their Own Future
- Money Corps: Finance Experts as Guest Teachers
- Entrepreneurial Education: The Successful Investor Project
- Money Lessons: A Guide to Financial-Literacy Resources
- Poll: Should schools make financial education a graduation requirement?