Integrated Studies

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.

March 28, 2012
Photo credit: Zachary Fink
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.

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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.

Culture at Ariel Community Academy

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

School Snapshot

Ariel Community Academy

Grades K-8 | Chicago, IL
521 | Public, Urban
Per Pupil Expenditures
$8837 School$13078 District$11537 State
Free / Reduced Lunch
98% Black
2% Hispanic

1% English-language learners
11% Special Needs

Data is from the 2010-11 academic year.

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