George Lucas Educational Foundation

Ariel Community Academy

Grades K-8 | Chicago, IL

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.
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Judith Shelton, curriculum director at Ariel Community Academy, 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.

Resources on This Page:

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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.

  • Remembering

    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.

  • Understanding

    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.

  • Applying

    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.

  • Analyzing

    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.

  • Creating

    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.

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Culture at Ariel Community Academy


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Additional Resources on the Web


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Comments (3) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Shirley's picture

Please include analysis of campaign finance laws and how this impacts our democratic process. That might well be the most critical financial skill because, without this knowledge, there will be more and more $$ with fewer and fewer people. Will there be enough left over for a budget for the "common man?"

Jim Kelly's picture
Jim Kelly
Providing OER resource links to improve k-12th grade mathematics.

Corresponding math understanding.
For those of us that are new to Edutopia the information in this article is much appreciated and the links are interesting. The lessons are broken down by grade levels (great!), was (or is) there an effort to define the mathematical skill levels that are needed to understand the lessons that could be used in corresponding grade level mathematics classes (be it logic or arithmetic skills)?
Thank you for reprinting the article.

jim kelly
(a 5 star Merlot II educational resource)

Anna's picture

For younger students, the literacy app Speakaboos also has a few financial literacy stories. Their Ca-CHING! Story series talks about different ways that money can be spent and saved, and there are other stories too. They have a YouTube channel but you get 5 free stories if you visit their actual site, so you can use these freebies to check out the finance stories.

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