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Posted: 03/28/2007
Fed resource: The Story of Inflation
Short description: Suggestions for Teaching Inflation with the Comic Book
   
Lesson time: 120+ minutes
Materials: None
Audience: Middle School, High School
Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Subjects: Money and Banking
Concepts: Money and Banking - Inflation
Documents: None
Tip/Tool:
Description: In order to develop student understanding about inflation, students use the comic book, “The Story of Inflation.”
1. Develop questions to guide student reading such as:
What is inflation?
Why wouldn't an increase in a single product such as oranges cause inflation?
Why might a large increase in an important commodity such as oil sometimes cause inflation?
What is cost-push inflation?
What is demand-pull inflation?
What problems does inflation cause?
What is hyperinflation?
What is the Fed's role in controlling inflation?

2. Have student groups role-play sections of the comic book. Be sure to assign someone as the narrator!

3. After reading the comic book, tell students to use the Internet to access articles about inflation from a newspaper archive. Have each student summarize his or her article and share the summary with the class.

4. Ask students if they ever hear grandparents or parents complain about high prices today relative to prices when the grandparents and parents were children.

5. Explain that prices for goods and services and wages tend to move together. As prices for goods and services have risen over time, so have wages. Usually, when people complain about prices, they fail to acknowledge that wages have also risen.

6. Have students go to the inflation calculator found at http://www.minneapolisfed.org/Research/data/us/calc/.

7. Tell students to enter the wage they earn now when they baby-sit, mow lawns, work at a fast food restaurant or perform other work and the year when their parents or grandparents would have been the same age that the students are now.

8. Tell students to enter the price they paid for a new shirt or a hamburger today and the year when their parents or grandparents would have been the same age the students are now.

9. Ask students to determine how many hours they would have to work to buy the new shirt versus how many hours their parents or grandparents would have had to work to buy a new shirt.

Submitted by: Sara Messina
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Jacksonville Branch