Let's Learn Economics! Let's Learn Economics!

There Are Many Ways to Teach Economics There Are Many Ways to Teach Economics

With economics now appearing as one of the strands in the Massachusetts Social Studies Frameworks, it is important for all teachers to be aware of interesting and exciting ways to integrate economics into their curriculum. Educators are in agreement that economic literacy is necessary for students to fulfill lifelong roles as consumers, producers, and citizens.

Pupils in all grades clearly display one economic theory of money - how to spend it. With that in mind, I accepted the challenge of creating a curriculum within my fifth grade classroom that would connect economics to language arts, math, science, social studies, reading, music, and art.

Utilizing programs such as Savings Makes "Cents" (Office of the Massachusetts State Treasurer), Save for America (U.S. Department of Education), and The Money Story (U.S. Mint), all of which offer sample lessons, I enthusiastically set out to create my economics unit. I also discovered that the Federal Reserve had a wealth of free resources available, as did the Center for Economic Education at Bridgewater State College, which offered free workshops and complimentary materials. (Editor's Note: See Educators' Update for a listing of the Economic Education Councils in New England.)

In my planning I was able to incorporate economics into all of the disciplines taught in my classroom. I could teach reading through the Tale of King Midas, science through shining an old penny, probability through tossing a coin and recording the results, and social studies through a study of the U.S. Mint.

Because our school is a partner in a wonderful banking program with Dean Cooperative Bank in Franklin, Massachusetts, our students enjoy an opportunity to bank within their own school each week. It provides a hands-on learning experience to reinforce our classroom work in economics.

I have successfully integrated multiple-intelligence approaches to learning into checking and savings units. Students learn in a variety of different ways - linguistic, mathematical, musical, kinesthetic, visual/spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. It's just a matter of finding what works best for a particular student.

By tapping into the references and programs that are now readily available, teachers can successfully offer lessons in economics to students at any age level, and the students will respond enthusiastically. As my students enter the classroom in the morning they ask, "Are we going to study money today?" And, of course, the answer is yes!


The Money Story
United States Mint
Phone: (202) 283-2646
ask for Product #C19

Save for America
4095 173rd Place, SE
Bellevue, WA 98008
Phone: (425) 746-0331

Savings Makes "Cents"
attn: Lori Ford
Office of the State Treasurer
State House - Room 227
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 367-6900

If you would like to receive a free copy of Ms. Heleniak's lesson plans on understanding check writing and savings accounts, write to:

Bob Jabaily, Editor
The Ledger
Research Department
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
P.O. Box 2076
Boston, MA 02210