Cultural Relevance in the Classroom: Connecting Students' Perspectives to Content

In this Classroom ECONnections webinar, learn about Federal Reserve System education resources that engage and benefit elementary and middle school students of all backgrounds. Discover resources and materials that can help cultivate a healthy learning environment for students diverse in a variety of ways, including by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Targeted toward K-8 students, the lessons are suited to more than personal finance and economics courses including social studies, history, or geography classes.

This webinar was recorded Sept. 26, 2019.

Links to resources are in the transcript below.


Below is a full transcript of this video presentation. It has not been edited or reviewed for accuracy or readability.

Jean Roark: Hello and welcome to the Federal Reserve Classroom ECONnections Webinar. Today we'll discuss cultural relevance in the classroom; connecting students’ perspectives to content. I’m Jean Roark from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and I’ll be your facilitator.

Let me introduce our presenters. Gigi Wolf is from the Kansas City Fed and Kris Bertelsen is from the St. Louis Fed. And both our presenters are economic education specialists.

Before turning our call over, I’ll run through our call logistics. If you haven’t joined us through the webinar yet, use the link you received after registering. For the best webinar experience, open the FAQ document, which can be found using the Materials button in the webinar player page.

I’ll highlight a few important notes for you. You can listen to the audio through your PC speakers or through your phone. If you use the phone option, slides will not sync with audio unless you change your settings. And you can do this by selecting the gray gear located in the upper right corner of the slide window, just above the presentation. From there you should see a few options in the Media Chooser and you should select the Phone option. That’s only if you’re consuming the audio through your phone today.

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We’ll be taking your questions at any time during our presentation and we will announce your questions at the end. But you can submit them using the Ask Question button in the webinar player page.

And let’s move to slide #2 and I will cover this disclaimer before turning the call over to Gigi Wolf. The views expressed in this webinar are those of the presenters and not necessarily the views of the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City or St. Louis, or of the Federal Reserve System.

And with all that out of the way, I’ll turn our call over to Gigi Wolf.

Gigi Wolf: Thank you so much, Jean. Hello everyone. My name is Gigi Wolf, as Jean said, and I am with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. I coordinate our education outreach efforts here at the Bank.

And before we get into the resources that we have to share with you today, I’d first like to touch on why we are in this space. Why the Federal Reserve is even concerned about cultural relevancy. And why we are putting together resources and programs to address this.

So, as many of you know, we have a primary mission of promoting stability within the nation’s economy and financial systems. And a way that we help consumers in that effort is that we provide resources and programs to help educate consumers about their choices, about how the economy works and, in turn, we believe that that will help them to make better, more informed decisions. And, so, we have a target audience, through our education programs, of reaching teachers and their students, but we also provide resources and programs for consumers. So, our consumer base is very diverse, not only racially, but ethnically, socioeconomically and so forth. So, we want to provide resources and programming that will address the needs of our very diverse consumer base. We also want the students that we reach with these resources and programs to be able to connect to the resources and information that we’re sharing.

And, so, I won’t go into all of the data that’s been provided for you here in our slides, but you will have it available to you after today’s webinar. And you’re welcome to look at those details a little bit further.

Bottom line is, the culture is shifting, changing, so that those who are underserved, those who are minorities, that group is continuing to grow. And, so, we want, again, to be able to connect to that group and make our resources and programming relevant for those that we serve.

One other thing I’ll touch on is that we—specifically within our programming, we have a Women in Economics series that my colleague, Kris, will tell you about. And we also have entered into partnerships with communities like the Native Americans, all in ways to address this cultural relevancy within the areas that we serve.

All right. So, let’s jump into the resources that we have that can help teachers, educators and their students to, again, see themselves in some of the resources that we provide and to help address some of the issues that we see.

The resources that I’ll be sharing, specifically, have been developed out of the Kansas City Federal Reserve District and they all happen to be literature-based. And, as far as target range, the audiences, or the grade level targets, go from second grade on up through high school.

All right. The first resource is called Those Shoes, based on a story about a little boy named Jeremy who is very interested in having a particular pair of shoes because that’s the most popular brand and all of the kids at school are wearing them. So, in this lesson students learn about taste and preferences, as well as their own, but also those of their peers, and then the economic concept of the bandwagon effect. I’ve included a few slides in here to give you a feel for the look of the book. And, as time allows, we’ll touch on some of this.

So, at this point in the story, Jeremy has tennis shoes that are pretty worn and his family isn’t able to purchase these popular shoes that he’d really like to have, that all of the other students are wearing. And one of the school counselors happens to see that his shoes are in pretty bad shape and ends up giving him a pair out of the lost and found there at the school. And they happen to have animal characters or pictures on them.

So, when Jeremy came back to the classroom, Alan Jacoby takes one look at my Mr. Alfree [phonetic 00:07:49] shoes and laughs. And, so, do Terrance, Brandon T. and everyone else. The only kid not laughing is Antonio Parker. At home grandma says, “How kind of Mr. Alfree.” I nod and turn my back. I’m not going to cry about any dumb shoes. But when I’m writing my spelling words later, every word looks like the word ‘shoes’. And my grip is so tight on my pencil I think it might burst.

On Saturday, grandma says, “Let’s check out those shoes you’re wanting so much. I got a little bit of money set aside, might be enough. You never know.” So, he goes shopping with grandma. Comes to find out that the brand name shoes are too much, so they visit some second hand stores and they find them. Black shoes with two white strips. High tops. Perfect shape. Two dollars and fifty cents. Those shoes. My heart is pounding hard as I take off my shoes and hitch up my baggy socks. “How exciting,” Grandma says. “What size are they?” I shove my foot into the first shoe, curling my toes to get my heel in. “I don’t know, but I think they fit.” I pull the other shoe on and try to walk around. “They’re okay,” I say holding my breath and praying that my toes will fall off right then and there, but my toes don’t fall off. I buy them anyway with my own money. And I squeeze them on and limp to the bus stop.

So, he ends up getting those shoes, again, just because of the bandwagon effect, because they’re popular with other students. But comes to find out that what’s more important is being able to have shoes that are actually protecting you feet rather than the popular ones. And he ends up giving the ones that are too small to his friend Antonio—or Antonio, who becomes his friend.

So, later, when it’s time for recess, something happens. Everywhere there is snow. The teacher says, “Leave your shoes in the hall and change into your boots.” So, if we’re leaving our shoes in the hall, it’s then I remember what I had in my backpack, new boots. New black boots that no kid has ever worn before. Standing in line to go to recess, Antonio leans forward and says, “Thanks.”

So, as far as the activities that are part of this lesson, students—It starts out with some questions for the students to help them kind of think about what their tastes and preferences are, understanding those concepts. This particular activity, with the shoe, is something that they complete while the story is being read. And they—It just cements those concepts of consumers, producers, price and goods, as they listen to the story. There’s a survey activity where the students survey their peers about their preferences related to types of shoes, brands of shoes, what’s least important when they buy shoes and what’s most important.

And then, lastly, they get to put on their creative hats and use that survey information that they create bar graphs with to design the perfect shoe, based on that feedback, that collective feedback, that they gathered during the survey process.

The next resource is called Sweet Potato Pie, again based on a book by Kathleen Lindsey. And, in this story, it’s about a rural family, farmers, who experience a drought. And they don’t have the yield that they would typically experience, and because of are not able to earn the income that they typically would, and are not able to pay a loan back to the bank.

Poppa was a hardworking man, but even hard work wasn’t enough. Late one morning as we sat in the kitchen, Poppa pulled a letter from his pocket. It was a note from the bank and it said the bank would take away our farm in a month if Poppa didn’t pay back the money he had borrowed. We owed nearly 75 dollars. That was a heap of money. We don’t even have 75 cents. “How are we supposed to pay back 75 dollars?” Poppa said with a worried look on his face. Poppa walked slowly to the back door and looked out across the field. “All we have left are the sweet potatoes,” he said. “We’ll have to come up with something, or we’re going to lose our farm.” All of a sudden, Momma threw her hands in the air. “Praise the Lord,” she shouted, “I got an idea. Sweet potato pie.”

So, the family begins to work together to create a lot of Momma’s special recipe sweet potato pie. That also happens to be included in the book, by the way, the actual recipe, if that’s of interest. And they take all of the pies to a harvest celebration, kind of like a city market atmosphere, where everyone brings their handmade goods. And there, they are able to sell all of their pies and actually get future orders for pies, enough to pay back the loan to the bank and make additional income.

Ladies commenced to fill their baskets with pies as they chatted with Momma about her recipe. Men said Momma’s pie was the best they had ever tasted. Children came running to try a taste, too. Jake collected the money from Momma and I kept bringing more pies from the wagon. I made sure to tell everyone it was Momma’s special extra-flaky crust that made her pies so good.

The activities that go along with this lesson include this one that students complete as the book is being read where they are identifying the labor that the family put into the development of their product, their good. And then it goes into an entrepreneurial activity where students put together a rudimentary business plan, based on the businesses that they are provided within the lesson.

It might be difficult to see here from the picture, but there are—The six business are a farm, a bakery, a hospital, an auto garage, a clothing store, and then a grooming store or a barber shop. And, so, students put together a business plan in response to the questions here for their particular business identifying all of the goods that they will need in order to start that type of business.

This particular lesson ends. The assessment is students revisiting those key concepts. And I forgot to mention this with the first resource, but with this one in particular, the cultural relevancy connections. You’ve got a family that’s living in a rural or farming community. It’s a family of color and socioeconomically they’re struggling.

And just really quick, back to Those Shoes, the cultural relevant connection, the family was non-traditional with a boy living with his grandmother. They were low-income, so had limited funds. Lived in an apartment, for instance. Shopped at thrift stores.

And then there’s also an opportunity for students to input their own voice and choice when it comes to the survey activity that’s part of that lesson.

Moving on to the next one, One Plastic Bag. In this lesson, students learn about responsible consumption and they put together an infographic based on what they’ve learned about that concept, and interpret charts and graphs along the way. This one also ties into social entrepreneurship. There is a woman that lives in her village in Africa. She experiences plastic bags that are being thrown onto the ground and they’re starting to clog up the streets and smell, and just cause lots of problems within the community. And she comes up with an entrepreneurial idea in order to help resolve that problem.

Day after day, the bag she dropped is still there. One plastic bag becomes two, then ten, then a hundred. Plastic isn’t beautiful anymore, she thinks. Her feet step down a cleaner path and the thought floats away. Goats scamper past. They forage through the trash for food. Her feet stop. She knows too much to ignore it now. Holding her breath, she plucks one plastic bag from the pile, then two, then ten, then a hundred. Isatou finds a broomstick and carves her own tool from its wood. “What’s that for?” Fatim asks. Isatou pauses. She and Peggy have an idea, but will their friends think it’s crazy? Will the idea even work? Nervously, she explains the plan.

The plan includes them cleaning the plastic bags, cutting them apart and then sewing them back together into a good that they then can sell. One friend agrees to help, then two, then five. The women cut bags into strips and roll them into spools of plastic thread. Before long, they teach themselves how to crochet with this thread. And their efforts pay off in the end, because now when she passes by the pile of rubbish, she smiles because it is smaller now. She tells herself, “One day it will be gone and my home will be beautiful.” And one day it was.

So, additionally in this lesson, students learn about her village in Gambia. And some of the words that are included within this story in Gambian. And they also have an opportunity to learn or dissect, distinguish between reducing, reusing and recycling. And then use some of that information to put together their infographics.

Another element of the lesson is a video that we’re not able to show you today, but there is a hyperlink to the video within the PowerPoint slides and they’ll be provided to you after today’s session. This video shares how—Just another example of what Isatou experienced in her village about the pollution that can clog up and harm a community.

Here's an example here of the data that students have to interpret as part of the lesson. And then, ultimately, they create their own infographic, again.

Also within the book, there’s a picture of the real Isatou. This is based on a true story. And I also provided a link in here to learn more about other climate heroes who have developed their own social entrepreneurship projects in response to problems within their community.

Next is Crenshaw. This story is about a little boy who develops an imaginary friend, a large cat named Crenshaw, in order to deal with homelessness, poverty, unemployment and other issues that he’s facing within his family. We won’t read excerpts from this particular one, but, again, they’re here for you to access after the presentation.

Students through the book also learn about social services in this lesson; what they are and to what extent they are provided within the U.S. and can help individuals in need. In the story, the little boy’s parents have various jobs that—some low income, some average, some high. And this particular exercise, students put together a budget plan based on income that might have been received for the jobs that the parents held within the story. And then, also, social service dollars are also integrated into this budget exercise.

Next, Isabel’s Car Wash. This story is about a little girl who wants to purchase a good and doesn’t have the money for it. And, so, has an idea of creating her own business, a car wash, and doesn’t have the capital to start her business. She’s not able to buy the supplies she needs, so she has an idea to reach out to her friends and family, and ask them to invest in her business so that she can then start her business, earn money and then pay them back as investors. And, ultimately, she does reach that goal.

To give students an idea of kind of how young entrepreneurs think, there’s a quick snippet from the Shark Tank series, and it could help kind of give some context to what the students hear about in the book. And the lesson itself provides business ideas and some cost projections for these various businesses. And it also provides dollars, investor dollars, and has the students work in small groups in order to try to sell their business to the groups of investors, who are their peers.

Lastly is our resource Twenty-two Cents. This is also based on a true story. But before I go into this, Jean, if you could remind our audience about their options.

Jean Roark: Absolutely. Yep, no problem. So, we’d love to hear from you if you have a question for Gigi. You can use the Ask Question button, and that’s located on the webinar player page. And once those are submitted, I’ll get those queued up for our presenters today. Let me just check and see if we have questions yet. We do not yet, Gigi. Back to you.

Gigi Wolf: Okay. Thank you, Jean. All right. Lastly Twenty-two Cents. Again, based on a true story. Mohammad Yunus, who, based on a problem in his home country of Bangladesh, creates the Grameen Bank, a microlending enterprise that helps that community to loan—or to get money for their—to produce the goods that they can then sell without having to go through predatory lenders. Again, you’ll find snippets of the book within the slides to give you a feel for the story.

The activities, themselves, tie into an exercise where students get to take a look at individuals who are seeking credit. And they get to play the role of a lender and determine to whom they would lend their funds and determine why they would do so.

So, throughout all of these, hopefully, you’ve seen how the different families, family units, the different minorities or underserved populations, socioeconomically, as well as culturally, are being addressed throughout all of these stories and lessons. And can help students who might be in some of these situations in their lives better relate to the material.

Here is information to connect with us directly in Kansas City. And, with that, I’ll go ahead and turn it over to Kris.

Kris Bertelsen: Okay. Thank you very much, Gigi. I just wanted to point out, as well, that many of the resources from Kansas City are also available on our website. We partner with other banks, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Atlanta and others, as well. So, just know that we do share one another’s resources from time to time.

You see the first slide there. My contact information is listed. Again, I’m in the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And we are available and if you have questions on any of the resources I show you today, please feel free to reach out, either e-mail or by phone. Either of those is just great.

So, I’m going to start out. Jean, if you’d go to the first slide. I’m going to show you just a couple of things about our website, And the resources I show you will be on that site. And before we do that, I want to note, on the right hand side of the site here you see ECON Lowdown in that blue box. This is a place where you can create an account and access about 350 or so resources, including podcasts, videos, online modules, reading Q&As in various topics in economics and personal finance, among other resources. And you can do this really easily by signing up. Jean, if you’d advance the slide for me.

You can access these with your e-mail and a couple of questions about your school district, your school, and create a free account and access all of these resources, K through college, and assign them to your students, and use them in a one to one setting or as a proctored computer lab-type setting as well. Once you register for the account, the system will generate a password. You log in. You change the password and that gives you access to add students and classes. This is the resource gallery. And, so, you can sort and filter by various filters, like grade level, content, the subject area, things like that.

Jean, if you’d go to the next slide for me. This slide will show you just a look at what the teacher view of our instructor—our teacher portal looks like. So, you see there, “Hi Kris, is it summer yet?” And the bar across the top shows my classroom’s resource gallery, professional development, classroom activities and FREDcast. Those are the options. You can create an account—create a classroom easily by having your students use the Google single sign on feature. And they add themselves to the class you create and then you can add resources from that, from the resource gallery.

This is a place where you’ll find all of our electronic delivery of resources. And many of these include both English and Spanish. And, so, I’m mentioning this now in case you have Spanish speakers in class. We do have a lot of material in Spanish and we’re adding more, as we’ve recently hired two native Spanish speakers who happen to be a veteran high school economics and AP economic teacher, and a veteran college professor, respectively. So, we’re very happy and grateful to have them on our staff. They will be helping translate and create more and more materials in Spanish, as well.

Jean, if you could go to the next slide for me. So, this is the main landing page. You see the website across the top. I’ve already mentioned it – This is the main site for the resources I’m going to show you next. So, you would not click into the teacher portal to see these resources. Instead, you would use the filters listed below there.

And, Jean, if you’d advance the slide, I will show you what I did to get to these resources that I’m going to share today. I filtered out elementary and middle school. So, I just selected those two and then I—you’re able to scroll through the resources. And today I’ve chosen a number of children’s literature lesson plans, elementary and middle grade levels, so that we can tie in the cultural relevancy piece.

So, I’m going to run through some of these. I’ll share just a little bit about each of the lessons that I’ve chosen, and then we will take any questions that you have, as well. So, just kind of going off of what Gigi shared, I will get into that.

So, the first book I’ve selected here is A Chair for My Mother. It’s just a really great story about a little girl who is working toward a savings goal of getting her mom a chair after their belongings were destroyed in a fire. And, again, this is sort of a non-traditional family, however you would want to define that. But the little girl works really hard—knows that her mother works really hard and, so she is trying to help the family reach a savings goal to get her mom a chair.

And you can see there, on the right hand side, there’s a lesson plan white board available in both Smart and Promethean formats. And then a question and answer, which I’m going to show you in an upcoming slide. That you can use this book just to pull out those economic and personal finance concepts with question and answers if you don’t have time to do the lesson.

On the next slide, you’ll see that there’s an activity. This is just a screenshot of a couple of activities. On the left hand side is the savings jar. In the story, the little girl—they’re going to fill up that jar to buy this chair. And, so, this helps the students visualize the saving that’s going on.

And then, the next one, on the right hand side, the students would place these sentences in order. And, so, it gets some reading practice and putting events chronologically as the activity.

So, on the next slide, I have a screenshot of the question and answer. These originally were requests by media specialists and parents. And, so, we’ve done this with most of our children’s literature books. We’ve created just a set of questions that pull out the economics or personal finance. And, so, if you’re reading the book for some other content, you can also use the Q&A. And those are available. You could send these home with the students’ families, things like that. They’re available for almost all of our children’s literature books.

The next book on the next slide is Four Feet, Two Sandals. And this story—we ask that students have a basic understanding of some fundamental economic concepts – scarcity, choices, opportunity costs, etc. And this story is really—it’s a touching story about two girls in a refugee camp going from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then to—their hope is to get to the United States. And, so, it’s beautifully illustrated. It’s a very well-told story. But the story is about—each of the girls ends up with a sandal that they discover is a matching pair. And, so, they end up sharing the sandal. It’s really a sweet story and a good—has a good theme to it of working together in friendship. And in the story, the—one of the two girls ends up going to the U.S. before the other.

And I’ll just read this last line here. “Feroza ran alongside the bus as the bus began to move. Lina leaned out the window. “We will share again in America,” she called.” So, they’ve shared this sandal and made an agreement that they’re going to share again when they reunite. And, so, it’s really an excellent example of scarcity, opportunity costs, things like that.

So, Jean, if you could go to the next slide for me, please. This slide, we’ll just kind of talk through. And I’m not going to read it entirely. But I do want to note the assessment here at the end. So, this is a two class period lesson. In that second lesson, the students are put in groups and they have a little—They act out a skit illustrating a resource method allocation method and then their classmates guess that. And then in the assessment, they read an article about a resource and write letters to a city council outlining ways to allocate a resource. And, so, this one really tries to tie in some relevant current issues, that sort of thing. So, it’s—make it a real world application.

Jean, if you’d go to the next slide. These two screenshots are going to show resource allocation methods. And you can see here command, contest, first come first serve, forced lottery, majority rule characteristics, things like that. So, the students learn what different allocation methods are and describe those and how well they accomplish certain goals.

On the next slide is just a screenshot of one of the allocation method cards for the skit. So, this one happens to be on price. Three friends going to the school store. One clerk at the store. So, they’re given a part and then able to act out that skit.

And, so, this lesson, the economic content, is good for teaching some foundational concepts. And the cultural relevancy piece really touches on refugee and immigration. You can discuss that with your students, as we know there are many students in our schools that have had experiences like that. And, so, it’s a way to connect them and have them relate to their experiences in your classroom.

The next book I’d like to show is called Something from Nothing. And this is just an excellent story. There is actually—there’s two stories going on in the illustrations. This is third through fifth grade. And it’s a story about a little boy whose blanket is so tattered and torn that he goes to his grandfather, a tailor, and has him make different things out of the blanket. And finally it gets down—he’s made this blanket into so many different things that at the very end it’s just a button. And, so, it’s a great story. And it’s very well illustrated. The family is Jewish and, so, I think it’s an opportunity to speak about religious and cultural differences here again. And students will be able to relate, some will be able to relate and others learn from each other.

Jean, if you’d go to the next slide. This slide shows one of the activities in the lesson plan where the students actually do what Joseph did, or what his grandfather did. And that is to cut out these various parts to make the jacket, to make to the blanket to the jacket to the vest and so forth. And, so, students get a chance to kind of see what material is left. And, again, this is, you know, scarcity. They’re giving up some of that material to get these new items from the blanket, from the original blanket.

Jean, if you could go to the next slide for me. So, we try to make the lessons have some kind of activity like that, like the cutting. And then this one, the assessment is choice and opportunity costs. We make a choice. What are we giving up. That’s our opportunity cost. And, so, this is the assessment. They write a little choice story in the box below and then they trade stories and determine the decision with their partner.

And then the next slide, if you’d show that Jean. That’s just a Q&A for Something from Nothing. So, again, just four questions. There is a supplemental math activity which you see on the screen. So, you could use this lesson to teach math, as well. There’s different geometry, the shapes and things like that, that are cut from that blanket originally.

Jean, if you’d go ahead. Skip to slide #89. Slide #89 shows the math activity and how students—you would cut those out and then students—laminate that and then students would put that back together. And then it asks—the lesson guides you through questions to ask about the number of sides on various shapes and things like that. So, that’s a separate lesson, but it’s the same book. So, you could use one or the other, or both of those.

Next slide, please, Jean. This book is one of my absolute favorites. This is Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. And I’ve always said—I taught high school economics, and if I were back in the classroom today, I would use Uncle Jed’s Barbershop to teach a number of concepts. But one of those would be the introduction to the Great Depression. And this is really an excellent story. It encompasses many different concepts and you can go a lot of different directions with it.

Uncle Jed, in the story, is a country barber during the—prior to the Great Depression. And he goes around cutting hair in the neighborhood for his family and neighbors. And it’s told from the perspective of the little girl in the picture there, who is his niece. And he always pretends to cut her hair, and then puts lotion on her neck. And she talks about how much she loves him and that he is her favorite relative. And, so, her family—Her dad owns a few acres of land in this sharecropping time. And, so, she discusses the—you can discuss the sharecropping arrangement. Uncle Jed is saving for a barbershop and he has put some money away for that. And he’s telling his niece about how this barbershop’s going to be—have all the newest and greatest stuff in it and things like that. And then the bank fails. And, so, Uncle Jed loses all of his money. And that is the start of the Great Depression.

And, so, there’s just a number of things you can do with that including the time value of money. You can show what the $3,000 he had is worth in today’s money. Different Federal Reserve Banks have inflation calculators that you can calculate that for the student, so they can get some sense of those numbers.

You can use the lesson to teach about segregation, because there’s a section where the little girl is—she’s gravely ill and her dad takes her to the hospital and they will not see her until she’s—until all the white patients have been seen. So, that’s really a story that you could describe to students. And, so, you could do that in a history class. You could talk about laws, for example, that have changed, that sort of thing.

But the story does come back around. Uncle Jed starts saving again. Jean, if you would go to the next slide for me. And he starts saving and the lesson, again, it touches on savings goals, opportunity costs, things like that, and, as I mentioned, segregation.

There’s an activity on saving. So, Jean, if you’d go to the next slide for me. The students actually have a chance to play a little activity where they draw a card and are given a savings goal, or a savings event rather, spending or savings event. And then they’re able to—they’re trying to get $50 for a video game. And each card they draw has this event. And then they roll dice and those numbers—you can multiply the numbers and that’s the amount that they would either add or subtract from their registers. So, you get them doing a little practice with the register as well. And then the first student in each group to reach that $50 savings goal, I always like to say you give them a cheap and meaningful gift of some kind. You know, if you have a shredded currency bag from one of the Federal Reserves, you could give that as a little giveaway.

But that gets students incorporating some math into their activities, as well. And it’s a nice way that they don’t even really pay attention that they’re doing math, and yet they’re practicing it. So, that’s a good thing.

So, the lesson moves through—Uncle Jed begins—He saves and ends up getting his barbershop right before his—on his 79th birthday. And, so, it’s really a good story, too, to connect some other qualities and characteristics: Perseverance, tenacity, that sort of thing.

Jean, if you could go to the next slide. It’ll just show a couple of the savings and spending cards. So, these are different cards that they would be able to draw. Given money for your allowance. You pay your library fines. Things like that. So, those are all savings or spending events.

Okay, next slide, Jean. And I’m running out of time, so I’ll go a little quickly. Ten Mile Day is a lesson plan that talks about and teaches about the construction of the transcontinental railroad. And this book is historical. It’s got some historical context in it. Students do a little activity where they build—they do a production activity where they’re building railroad tracks in groups.

Jean, could you go to the next slide for me. And they learn about capital goods, division of labor, human capital, productivity, things like that. So, you can see the tracks there. The students would make those in groups. And you’d calculate their productivity. And you can check their output per worker, things like that.

Next slide for me, Jean. This is just a copy of the handouts that the students would color if you so choose, one black and one brown. These tracks, they cut them out and then they build their railroad tracks from those.

The cultural relevancy piece here—I believe this lesson make a nice tie in, both with the treatment of Chinese laborers at that time. Native Americans were affected by the railroad, of course, with the buffalo herds. Irish immigrants worked on the railroad. Transcontinental railroad was a big part of their history, as well. And, so, there’s nice ways to tie in various groups of people and the affects of the railroad on each of them and how they interacted, thing like that. It’s really an excellent book and very well done historically, as well.

Next slide, Jean. There are two books left that I’d like to share quickly. The Tortilla Factory. I’m just going to mention this. Gary Paulsen is an excellent author. Lawn Boy is one of his famous books. And this one, illustrated by his wife, actually. But talks about growing the corn to create the flour to create tortillas. Just really a great story. Brings in cultural foods in this case and a story of how that food is created.

If you could go to the next slide for me, Jean. This lesson really teaches natural, human capital resources and then intermediate goods, if you wanted to discuss GDP.

Jean, if you could go—just skip this next book, The Saturday Sancocho. Those two books are actually from Philadelphia. They are on our website and I’d recommend you take a look at those. We have an ECON Lowdown Facebook page. We have a Twitter account.

And, Jean, if you could go to slide #104 for me. I just want to show a couple of upcoming events. And I’m trying to leave a few minutes here at the end. We have two more webinars coming up. We have one October 24th, Active Learning for Future Data Gurus. That’s FRED and new lessons plans using data. And then we have a secondary workshop webinar coming up on November 13th. And that one is New Secondary Materials only.

My last slide here is actually a podcast series and events, it’s the next slide, on Women in Economics. And, for those of you in the region, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is hosting an event on the 27th, and, so, event registration will be coming for that.

We have a podcast series and that could be found at, Timely Topics, Women in Economics. And, so, that—check that out, both of those. At St. Louis we have an initiative to reach women, females, and interest them in economics as the field is—women are not represented well in economics, so . . .

If you have questions, of course, Jean can—I’ll turn it over to you here, Jean. If you want to put the contact us slide up for me and we’ll take any questions.

Jean Roark: You’ve got it. Thanks so much, Kris. And we did get a couple of questions. I’m actually going to start with one where this individual would like to know where they can find the books that you guys have talked about today. If either Gigi or Kris—probably either one of you could take that.

Gigi Wolf: Well, the books that we have, we were able to purchase them on Amazon. But all of the ones that we’ve shared with you today are, I believe, still in print. And, so, should be accessible at any, you know, book seller.

Jean Roark: Okay. Thanks for that.

Kris Bertelsen: One of the things that we do in St. Louis, if you get to the website and look at each of the books, it’ll say “This book is in print and available.” One of the things that we do is we try to write books that are—write lesson plans for books that are Caldecott winners or Newbury winners. So, we try to stay with those, just because we know that they’re not going to be going away. So, that is one thing we work really hard on, is making sure we’re writing books—writing lessons for books that are going to be around. And that is actually on—it’s on each lesson that we write.

Jean Roark: All right. Thanks for that. The next question, Kris, actually is asking, again, about when your next webinar is. So, I changed it to slide #104.

Kris Bertelsen: Okay, thank you.

Jean Roark: Yeah, give us a quick repeat on that.

Kris Bertelsen: Yes. So, the first webinar I mentioned is the 24th of October. And that one is FRED and some new lesson plans to teach data literacy. And we have two experts. One is an expert on FRED and one is one of my team members who’s done a lot of work in STEM and connecting STEM to economics. And, so, the two of those gentlemen will be presenting that one. And then the other one is New Secondary Materials from around the system. And on that webinar, one of my colleagues here in St. Louis, a colleague from Atlanta and Gigi will be presenting brand new lesson plans for the second semester.

Jean Roark: Okay. Actually, that takes us to the end. We have reached our time. We—You got through all the questions, so that’s good. Kris, did you have any additional closing remarks before I officially close out our call today?

Kris Bertelsen: If you can just put that contact connect with us slide back on for St. Louis. And then, we’d like to thank you for joining us today. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re happy to help you—talk you through signing up for an account on ECON Lowdown, or any of the lessons plans, if you have questions. I always say, don’t spin your wheels on the website, just reach out to us and we’re happy to help.

Jean Roark: All right. Thanks so much for that, Kris. And I do appreciate your time and Gigi’s time today. And I’m sure that our attendees appreciate your time and expertise, as well.

A survey just popped up on your screen, if you’d like to respond to that there. You’ll also receive an e-mail with that survey link. You really only have to respond once, but we would love to hear from you, if you don’t mind giving us your feedback.

Thanks again for joining us. And this concludes today’s Federal Reserve ECONnection webinar. Enjoy the rest of your day.


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