In this Classroom ECONnections webinar, recharge your elementary classrooms with engaging ways to teach economics and personal finance using resources from several Federal Reserve banks. Specialists from the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Kansas City, and St. Louis explore new elementary classroom resources including online courses and videos, classroom-ready activities, and more.
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. Our topic today covers resources for elementary educators. I'm Jean Roark from the Federal Reserve, and I'll be your facilitator.
Before turning our call over to our speakers, I'll run through a couple of 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, but I'll highlight just a couple of important notes for you. You can listen to the audio through your PC speakers or through the phone. If you use the phone option, slides will not sync with audio unless you change one setting. You can change that setting by selecting the gray gear, located on the upper right corner of the slide window just above the presentation. And from there, you should see a couple of options in the media chooser, and you should select the phone option. Now, you only want to select the phone option if you're listening to the audio through your phone.
You can expand the size of the slides. And to do that, you just use the maximize button in the upper right corner of the side window, and that's located on the webinar player page. And if you'd like a pdf version of today's presentation, you can access it using the Materials button. We'll be taking questions. Actually, we'll be announcing our questions at the end of the presentation, but you can submit them any time during the webinar. We have a couple of speakers, and we'd love to hear your questions. And to do that, to submit your question, you can use the Ask Question button, and we'll get your questions cued up for our presenters.
I'm going to turn it over to slide two, which is a disclaimer. So let me read that aloud before I turn it over to Kris Bertelsen. The views expressed in this webinar are those of the presenters and not necessarily the views of the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, or the Federal Reserve System.
All right. With all of that out of the way, I'm going to turn to slide three. And, Kris, I'm going to turn the call over to you.
Kris Bertelsen: Okay, Jean, thank you very much. I appreciate it. And, first of all, thank you for joining us here today and for all of the work you do for your students. We really appreciate that.
I'm Kris Bertelsen, as Jean said. I'm in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in the Little Rock branch, and I will be introducing my colleagues today from Kansas City, St. Louis, and Cleveland in the order that they're going to be presenting for us today.
First of all is Gigi Wolf. Gigi is a lead economic education specialist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where she assists in developing curriculum, facilitates professional development for regional educators, builds partnerships with like‑minded organizations, manages content for the National Fed Education website, as well as coordinating programs for teachers, students, and the public. Gigi will lead us off here in a few minutes.
Andria Matzenbacher is my colleague at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, where she is a senior learning technology designer. She works with a team of economic education specialists, developing online learning resources, including online modules and our Econ Lowdown teacher portal. Andria earned her master's degree in instructional design and learning technologies and an additional certificate in web‑based instruction from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Prior to her time at the Federal Reserve Bank, Andria taught middle school science and English.
And, finally, Zan Halmbacher is from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, joining us this year and—this year on the webinar series, I should say. Zan is the Museum Education and Outreach Department manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. There she connects with community members and works with the bank's staff to develop educational resources and programming for teachers and students. Zan uses her previous experience and passion for outreach and education to spread awareness about the bank and its financial literacy resources and programming. She holds a bachelor's in anthropology from the University of Cincinnati and a master's in anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Gigi, thank you very much. Thank you to the presenters. And I will turn things over to you get started.
Gigi Wolf: Thanks so much, Kris. It's always great to have an opportunity to share these resources with teachers as a way for them to be able to share personal finance and economic concepts with their students. In Kansas City, we've developed several resources that are relevant for elementary students. So, again, I'm glad to have the chance to share those today.
The first one that I'd like to share is our Financial Fable series. These are animated online stories that have a money message or what we like to call a money moral. They are geared toward preschool age through fifth grade, and they have different activities for the various grade ranges. So there are activities for P through 2 and then another set of activities for each fable for grades 3 through 5. The concept addressed through the fables include the importance of saving, how to make smart shopping and spending choices, how to use credit wisely, and then how to set financial goals.
If you visit the website that was on the last slide—and don't worry, I'll share these web addresses again later on in the presentation, so you'll have access to those—But once you visit the Financial Fables website, you will have access to four individual fables, each with their own storyline and teacher resources, which includes a lesson plan and a printout of the story, if you choose to share it in that way. There will also be enrichment activities with the associated answer key and family activities. If you want to let your students' families know about these resources, they can share them at home, and there are also coloring pages for each of the fables.
Here you see a snapshot of the information that's available for each of the fables, and you could also see on the left there that there's a Read to Me version and a Read to Myself version available for each of the fables.
Now, here's a peek into the fables specifically. The first one is called "Penny Pigeon and the Missing Next Egg." It focuses on the importance of saving and investing. Penny Pigeon as the character actually ends up taking something from one of her fellow bird friends and has to go to court when she's caught and then learns the lesson that it's best for her to save in her own nest egg rather than stealing from someone else's. It addresses national voluntary content standards in economics, in personal finance, as well as some Common Core standards tied to reading and literature.
The next one features Olivia Owl, who learns all about comparison shopping and how to find the best deals and prices and making the best choices when it comes to spending. She's a busy mom and needs to shop for groceries for her family and so wants her money to go as far as it can. So the concepts addressed in this one include needs versus wants, saving, and comparison shopping. This one also addresses content standards related to economics and personal finance as well as Common Core for literature and for reading.
In the third fable, Oscar Ostrich is a little afraid because he doesn't know what's going to happen in the future, and he learns from one of our recurring characters—He's actually the judge in Penny Pigeon's fable story—He comes back in this one and helps Oscar to learn about saving and investment tools and how to set financial goals so that he doesn't have to be afraid for what's to come in the future. The concepts here are needs, saving, and reaching financial goals, setting and reaching financial goals. The content standards are similar to the other two as far as economics, personal finance, and Common Core.
The last fable in the series features Percy the Peacock, and he's learning all about credit as well as, as you can see here, banking, being a consumer, goods versus services, payments, price, saving, and borrowing or lending. And Percy loves to look dapper and loves to shop, and so uses his credit card until it's maxed out, and he doesn't understand why. So he learns through this situation how if he's going to borrow, he needs to borrow responsibly, in a way that he is able to pay back that loan and to be a more responsible consumer. And similar to the other fables, this one also addresses decision‑making, content standards, as well as some personal finance ones, and Common Core in literature and reading.
The next resource is what we like to call an oldie but a goody. It's not new to the scene, but it's one of our most popular resources, and it's something that we're consistently hearing about teachers using in the classroom. It was originally developed for grades K through 6; however, we heard from teachers at the middle school and high school level that their students aren't familiar with these concepts, and so they use them regularly as well.
What they are is a set of vocabulary flashcards or they're set up in that format, where there is a printed card that has an economic or personal finance term or concept, and then there is a corresponding card for that concept that has the matching definition, and so it's Fifty Nifty, but there's actually more than fifty vocabulary terms or concepts that are included within the set.
The set, in addition to the printed cards and corresponding definitions, comes with a teacher's guide. In the teacher's guide, it includes a glossary of all of the terms that are included in the set as well as several games and activity suggestions, ways to use these cards in a classroom setting. We've heard of teachers using them as part of their word wall. We've also heard teachers using them for a variety of review games as students are learning some of these concepts. And I don't believe I have a slide here that focuses on any of the concepts in particular, but if you think about economic and personal finance concepts that would be appropriate for an elementary student, we cover needs, wants, price, consumers, producers, goods, services, and many more.
On the website link here, you can order a set of the printed cards, or you can actually use the website to do a flashcard‑type activity. Here you can also get access to the activities, games, and puzzles that I mentioned before. There are also assessments for each of the grade levels of terms. Within the glossary, we divided the terms into certain grade level expectations. So, for instance, certain words or terms are geared more towards the kindergarten level versus the sixth-grade level. And so that's what the assessments are—or these standardized assessments here are geared toward, but you might also see there, there's a custom assessment generator. So if you would like to mix and match those concepts amongst those grade levels, you're welcome to do that. Another one of our elementary resources—Oh, one more thing I wanted to mention about the Fifty Nifty and that's that they're available in both English and Spanish language, both on the printed version and online.
The next elementary resource is called "Jay Starts a Business." This is an online app that's interactive, and it walks students through the process of starting their own business. And so it includes a teacher's manual to guide them through the online app, a student journal to track their progress and to record their responses to the questions that are asked throughout the app, as well as classroom activities that go along with the app. It's geared toward grades 4 through 6.
To give you an idea of what the teacher manual includes, there is a lesson format that is consistent throughout, where you'll find it's set up just like a traditional lesson plan that you're used to seeing with a description, the concepts that are addressed, the objectives, and so forth. There's also an appendix available within the manual. That includes pre- and posttests, a completion certificate, alignment to standards, and a survey if you'd like to give us your feedback on how using this resource went for you in your classroom.
Now, to give you a glimpse of what the app itself looks like, let's take a look here at lesson one. There are actually a total of six—actually, there are seven total lessons, but there are six that are addressed or included within the app. In lesson one of the app, students get a basic understanding about what it means to be an entrepreneur, so becoming familiar with the vocabulary concepts, and then they also get to take an abbreviated quiz that helps them to learn about their entrepreneurial traits or characteristics that they might have. They also learn about decision‑making, as you can see here in this decision‑making grid, during lesson one.
In lesson two, students actually put together their own business plan, and they determine what amount they'll need to borrow in order to start their business. And within the app there are certain businesses or ideas that they can choose from, and so once they are—once they select that criteria, it guides them through how to create that particular type of business. So in this lesson they're learning about the risk involved and how to budget for starting their business, what resources will they need to produce their product, and then looking to borrow that in the next lesson.
In addition to borrowing the money that they'll need to start their business in this lesson three, they're also going to identify where they'd like to locate their business or their shop. They're learning about competition in this lesson or this part of the app as to what types of things or factors tie into making a business successful. And they look for ways to minimize the risk that they'll have to their business.
In lesson four, students actually set their product price based on what they've learned thus far about what it took to produce their particular product, and now they need to set a price—a competitive price—that will yield the profits that they want as well as cover their business costs. So they learn about profits. They also learn about supply and demand concepts during this lesson.
In lesson five, students put together a marketing campaign for their product. This is an example of the rubric that is used to evaluate the campaign that they come up with, so they're learning about advertising. They're learning about who their target audience is. They're learning about risks and rewards tied to their business. They also analyze various ads and types of ads in order to determine which might be the best for their particular business.
In lesson six, students celebrate the grand opening of their business, and they reflect on their experience. So there are review questions in this part of the app as well as a few sprinkled throughout just to make sure that they're understanding the material. And then students have an opportunity to share what their business is and how—or the successful aspects of their business and how their customers have perceived the business or how their profits have been. All of the lessons up to this point are meant to be 60 minutes or one class period in length.
When we get to lesson seven, this is where it could differ a bit depending on teacher preference. In this one, you are encouraged to invite real-life entrepreneurs to the classroom, who can hear about the students' businesses and their experiences in starting their business through the online app, and on the flip side here from these real‑life entrepreneurs, their best practices and lessons learned and any challenges they faced as real‑life entrepreneurs. So it's optional, but a great way for students to see how the work that they did through the app looks in real life. There are alignments to all of the voluntary standards for economics throughout the app. Or, actually, it's actually in the teacher's manual. And then, again, there's a completion certificate if you'd like to use that to reward the students at the end of the project.
I included this little stop sign here because that's the indicator that's used within the app to let you know it's time for students to transition to their student journal. So for each of the lessons, they'll be toggling back and forth between the online interactive app, where they will complete some of the activities, and their student journal, where they will complete the other portion of the activities. And this is your visual indicator throughout that lets you know when it's time switch to the other.
All right. And, lastly, I'd like to share a series of resources that we have tied to role-play. We know that this can be a fun way for students to learn about different concepts, by playing different roles or characters, as they read about and act out these different concepts. So all of these lesson plans are geared toward grades 3 through 8. The first one, "There's No Business Like Bank Business," is all about how a bank operates and the importance of having a banking relationship, how to develop habits of saving and responsible spending, and then how banks earn money and what purpose they serve within our community and within our economy as a whole. This particular one is geared toward grades 3 through 5, and it's set up for one class period.
The next one, "Mind Your Own Business," is focused on entrepreneurship, learning about how to earn money, pricing, interest with—tied to a business loan, and then profit. And students actually go through the process or a role-play of setting up their own business in this—in this lesson.
Next, "Payment Parliament." This one focuses on ways that consumers pay for different things. So the advantages and disadvantages of different types of payments. Students take on the role of the different payments and kind of tout the advantages and/or disadvantages of each. The ones that are included are currency, checks, debit, credit, electronic payments. And there's also mention of the Federal Reserve System and our role in regulating and also supporting the payment system as a whole. This one is also set up for a—one class period.
And then there's "To Pay the Price." This one is focused on debit, credit, online banking, and electronic payments. It also touches on identity theft, direct deposit, ACH transactions or electronic transactions that go through the Federal Reserve System. It's geared toward grades 5 through 8 and also for one class period. All of these role-play lesson plans have a standards correlation included. And they're all available through our website, kansascityfed.org, or you can also access them on the National Federal Reserve Education website, federalreserveeducation.org.
Lastly, real quickly, before turning it over to my colleague, I'd like to mention our money museum. For those who are close to Kansas City or would like to visit Kansas City, there's an experiential learning opportunity for all ages through our money museum. Students get direct access or a look into our cash processing area. They can see how we process the currency and coin as it comes in from banks and how we send it out. They'll also see our automated vault system, where we store the money, and then, also, the robots that move the money back and forth throughout the vault.
There's also a gold bar on display, an opportunity to create your own money or currency design, even put your own face in to your currency design if you'd like, along with a collection of historical coins and other artifacts tied to the Federal Reserve and our function. So it's available Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Self‑guided tours are available, and you don't have to reserve in advance. But guided tours for fifth grade and up, we just want a two‑week advance notice through the website address that you see there.
We've also been putting up some temporary exhibits. We currently have one up focused on black female entrepreneurs. And so there's opportunities to see those as they rotate through our money museum experience as well.
Again, here's where you can find access to the resources that I've shared with you today. You can also connect with us through social media and on LinkedIn to learn more about these resources and any others that we produce out at the Kansas City Fed District.
I'll end it there and turn it over to my colleague in St. Louis, Andria.
Andria Matzenbacher: Thanks, Gigi. And thank you, listeners, for giving me the opportunity to share our resources with you. I'm going to start today with our—a view of our website. This is Econ Ed at the St. Louis Fed. And all of the resources I'll be sharing with you will be accessible from this website. And we have—To get there, you'll go to www.stlouisfed.org. And then up at the top there, you can see the blue bar that goes across the screen, and you would click on Economic Education to be taken to Econ Ed at the St. Louis Fed. And once you're there, you'll have access to over 500 resources that you can sort and filter by grade level and topic as well as subject area.
One of the resources I'd like to share with you today is "Mr. Cookie Baker." And Mr. Cookie Baker is for grade levels K through 2. And this short story—It's based upon a short story, and this short story follows a baker through a day from measuring his ingredients to baking and decorating and ends at the close of his bakery for the day after all his cookies are sold. And you can see here the concepts that are covered throughout the course of this lesson as well as the standards. We also give you the Common Core standards that would be addressed during this lesson. As with every lesson, we share Common Core standards as well.
And after reading this story, the key components of this lesson, of course, include reading the book and discussing the book to identify the types of resources in the story, coloring to identify resource types, as you see in the screenshot here, and by making playdough and playdough cookies and identifying the resource types that are used in those activities. And, finally, students will complete an assessment where they demonstrate their knowledge of capital, human, and natural resources, as well as intermediate goods.
The next lesson I'd like to share with you is "Ox-Cart Man" for grade levels 2 and 3. This book—Again, this is a lesson associated with the book—takes young students through the changing seasons in the life of a 19th-Century New Englander and his family. Ox-Cart Man packs the goods he and his family have made such as the mittens his daughter had knitted and the birch brooms his son has carved. He travels to the Portsmouth market to sell his goods one by one, even his beloved ox. Then with pockets full of coins, he purchases a few things at the market before he returns to his home, where the cycle of making the goods begins again. And I'm hoping you're all able to see the slides. It's taking a while to load on my end. So apologies if it's taking a while for you to be able to see yours.
Jean Roark: Andria, it's Jean. If you'd like me to transition, you can just give me a verbal cue. I am seeing your slides transition, though.
Andria Matzenbacher: Okay. It seems reasonable in terms of the time that you see them?
Jean Roark: It does. Uh‑huh. Yep.
Andria Matzenbacher: All right. Well, then I'll continue on. I'm good. Thank you.
Jean Roark: Okay.
Andria Matzenbacher: All right. This lesson is a two‑day lesson, and the first day is 30 to 45 minutes. The second is 20 to 35 minutes. And in this lesson students learn about the various resources used to produce the goods that are discussed in the story, and it's important to place emphasis, of course, as reading the story in identifying both how the resources—how it takes the resources to make the goods and who buys the goods in the market. Students then participate in a simulation of the circular flow of the economy, and they will use examples from the story to apply the concepts learned and model how the circular flow shows the interdependence between people and businesses in the resource and goods and services markets. This lesson ends with a brief assessment asking students to create their own examples of circular flow.
The next lesson I would like to share with you is for grade levels 3 through 5. And it is on the CPI market basket. Students explore a market basket of goods and services and determine what items belong in each category such as food, housing, education, recreation, and so on. Students learn that the Consumer Price Index is made up of market basket goods and services and that the prices are compared each month to determine if the price of any of the items has changed and if there has been inflation.
The key components of this lesson include exploring current and past prices for goods or service, as you see in the screenshot here. And after doing so, for all of the resources in the exercise, the students will discover that in general the prices of the resources went up. Students will finish up with role-play scenarios to understand the effects of inflation. For example, in one situation, the price of gas goes up, and you hear conversations about people running to fill up before there's another increase or changing travel plans or even carpooling to save on gas. And in another scenario, blueberries are really expensive, but because the strawberries look good and are cheaper, the consumer decides to substitute and purchase strawberries instead.
Now, as Kris said, I was a teacher for 10 years, and I taught middle school, so I want to share a few middle school resources with you as well today. And the first is actually a series of resources on trade. A Yen to Trade is actually nine lessons for students in the middle grades, and these lessons are written to help students understand the basic rationale for making trades, the gains that are possible from trade, and how trading is done between people of different countries. Each lesson teaches fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, economic wants, resources, goods and services, opportunity costs and money, as well as international trade concepts such as exports/imports, tariffs, quotas, exchange rates, and trade routes. Most of these lessons employ simulations and other active learning strategies to engage students in the learning process and to provide experiences to help them discover why things happen as they do. Students do everything from taking on the role of traders in the real markets to jumping hurdles to learn about trade barriers and to actually tossing a ball to learn about trade routes. Activities integrate other curriculum areas as well, including math, language arts, and geography. These lessons were originally developed by Dr. Curt Anderson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth. And we are grateful that he has allowed us to revise them, and we revised them to include compelling questions, links to national standards, and assessments for each of the lessons. This unit can be taught in its entirety; however, the lessons are also written to stand alone.
If you choose to teach the entire unit, you will touch each of the standards you see here, and each individual lesson also is designed to show which standards are addressed in that particular lesson. So, for example, in this screenshot you see here, this comes from a lesson that addresses the standards of scarcity and specialization. Pairs of students play the roles of tortoise and hare, working together to win a contest. Through trial and error, they discover the benefits of specialization, and they determine who has a comparative advantage. Then they generalize this knowledge to the context of countries.
Another resource we have for the middle levels is "Seas, Trees, and Economies." It is a set of 10 lessons for students in the middle grades. These lessons are written to help students understand the relationship between our natural environment and the economy as well as to describe how the environment and the economy jointly provide us with the goods and services that we want.
The lessons provide students with the tools they need to recognize the fundamental tradeoffs and explain how and why choices are made. This lesson also helps to explain how people can make better choices regarding the use of natural resources and the disposal of waste that production and consumption unavoidably create. Most lessons employ simulations and other active learning strategies; and "Seas, Trees, and Economies" was also originally written by Dr. Curt Anderson and published by the University of Missouri at St. Louis. And, again, these lessons have been revised in the same way a "Yen to Trade" was to include the same types of—same types of materials: assessments, the standards, and so on. And these lessons teach fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, resources, goods, services, opportunity costs, tradeoffs, value, price, and incentives, as well as those that you see here. The list of concepts was just too long for those set of 10 lessons to fit on one screen, probably not even two.
All right. And if you chose to do "Seas, Trees, and Economies" as a unit, you see all of the standards in economics that would be addressed to that unit. And just like a "Yen to Trade," if you chose to only do one or two lessons, you will be able to tell which standards you are reaching with those lessons as well. And, for example, this one here, we have students that receive these situations in secret. And I'm not sure how well you can see it, but each situation is slightly different, and they're encouraged not to tell their classmates what their particular situation is, and then they're given a list of resources, such as water, walking shoes, compass, phone, tank of air, a gallon of gas, and so on to help them in their particular situation. They make decisions based upon their situation, and then the class walks through each of them, and once they have a chance to see what Student A's situation was, for example, it makes more sense which items they chose versus Student E.
All right. To finish up, I'm going to take you back to our Econ Ed at the St. Louis Fed website page, and I'm going to show you some of the resources that we have available on our online teacher portal. So if you see the Econ Ed at the St. Louis Fed, over to the right there is a red box that says Econ Lowdown. And if you click on that blue button, you will be taken to our Econ Lowdown teacher portal. On the Econ Lowdown teacher portal, you can register for free in just a few quick steps, and then you'll have access to roughly 30 resources for students in K through 5; and we have quite a few resources at the middle school level, over a hundred, that could potentially be used in the classroom.
And I also—I will share with you some of these resources at primarily the 2 through 5 grade level. And the first one I'd like to share with you is the first in a series of three online modules, and each one includes a pretest, a brief story, and interactive questions, and a posttest at the end, which you would have access to when you set up a classroom in Econ Lowdown. Ella in this situation is making a decision. So Gigi mentioned earlier on that decision‑making grid. And in Ella, the students will learn about that same decision‑making grid as well. And they help Ella actually to make a decision throughout the course of the story. So it takes her through the process of making some decisions. The students get to make decisions, and through that process, they learn about this haste decision‑making tool.
The next one is "Ella Saves Today." And, as you can imagine, young children are not likely to think past their piggy banks when it comes to safe places to set their money aside, but in Ella Saves Today, students learn that a bank account offers security and a return on their savings.
And the third in the series is "Give Ell Credit." And, as you know, using some form of credit is a necessity for most adults. Unfortunately, some misuse credit, and the consequences can be devastating. The earlier young people learn about credit, the more likely they are to use it responsibly as adults. So in this short lesson, students will learn what credit is, why people use credit, and how interest can affect the final cost of a good or service when bought on credit.
And I'd like to wrap up today by sharing with you some of our videos that are suited for elementary students. It's our Explore Economics video series. And we have five currently in the series. And I have a screenshot from each of them that I think tells the story of the video. So in the upper left‑hand corner, you have the perfect breakfast, which helps students understand why people in different regions, states, and nations trade. It tells the story of a child in Canada who wants orange juice for breakfast and a child in Florida who wants syrup for breakfast.
Below is the Economics of Infrastructure video. And in it, students learn how infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, sewer pipes, and power lines support the operation of an economy. In the middle you see a shot from how Daniel got what he wanted, which helps students understand that people have to get the things—have to save to get the things they want. Daniel wants a new bike helmet, and he must earn income to save and reach his goal. In the upper right, you see the "Economics of Transportation," where students learn how changes in technology change the way and the speed with which we move goods. And, finally, in the lower right you see "What Makes Something Useful as Money," where students learn about items that have been used as money in the past and explains why something used as money should be relatively scarce, generally acceptable, portable, durable, and divisible.
And with that, I think I'm finished, and I thank you so much for the opportunity to share with you today. And I'm going to turn it over to Zan from the Cleveland Fed.
Alexandria Halmbacher: Thanks, Andrea. So can you guys hear me okay? I want to make sure my sound is working still.
Jean Roark: Yes, Zan, we can hear you. Thank you.
Alexandria Halmbacher: Thank you. So, as Kris mentioned, my name is Zan. I'm from the Cleveland Fed. I manage their Education and Outreach department. So today I'm going to talk about a couple of resources and one of our elementary student programs that you can implement in your school district. All of the resources that I'm going to mention can be found on our Cleveland Learning Center site, which I've listed the URL here on this slide, but they can also be found on federalreserveeducation.org as well, which I believe has been mentioned earlier and probably will at the end of the presentation as well.
Okay. So to start off, the first thing I want to talk about is "Escape from the Barter Islands." This is an app that the Cleveland Fed developed. It not only plays on our website, so you can use it on tablets and desktops, but it also is downloadable through the Google app store as well as iTunes. It plays in both English and Spanish. And what's cool about this app is that you can actually achieve scores by completing it. So there is a high score you're trying to reach, so students are able to compete with each other for completing it, and it also does have sounds that goes with it. The playoff line aspect that you see listed in the bullets just refers to if you download it on a tablet or your phone, you don't have to be connected to the Internet to use it. I've also listed an activity that was developed by the Smithsonian around Escape from the Barter Islands app that you can also use as a complement or supplement to this activity.
You can go to the next one, Jean. Then I just put a little bit more information about the app, so essentially what this is teaching students is the fundamentals of a barter system and the value of the uniform and acceptable currency. So if you look at the picture that's on the left‑hand side of the screen, you'll notice there's four different islands. So essentially what happens is Robbie shipwrecks his boat on Orange Island, and he gathers all of these oranges. And you can see Robbie and his oranges on the picture on the right‑hand screen. And as he goes to all of these islands, he has to make different trades to acquire something. So it might be a compass or it might be a paddle, which will help him get to his next location. The first island, you know, he's trading oranges, as you can see, for cherries, and then cherries for crackers, and crackers for this so that he can get his item.
When he gets to Coconut Island, they actually use coconuts as the form of currency, so all he has to do is trade in his oranges for some coconuts and then coconuts for the object he wants to achieve. So this one's really fun. It's very interactive. Like I said, there's audio to it as well as a script that you can—that students can read. And I will give a shout‑out to our St. Louis Fed. So they have a lesson plan that discusses the characteristics of money, which I think is another complement to the Barter Islands app.
You can go to the next one. So the next resource that I want to discuss is called "Great Minds Think." This is our personal finance workbook that we actually revamped and re‑released in 2018. It helps students think critically about different money decisions that they're going to make. It's great to implement in the classroom, but it's also a great resource for students to take home and do with their parents or family members and siblings. Some of the key topics that it touches on are the earnings, budgeting, saving, and ways to pay. This resource is also available in English and Spanish. You can order copies online, or you can download a pdf both from our website and again on the Federal Reserve Education website. And this also includes a teacher's guide with additional resources that you can use to supplement some of the activities.
And if you go to the next slide, so this kind of gives you a peek inside what the book looks like. So, again, "Ways to Pay," which is in the upper left‑hand corner, this is the slide that's going to talk to students about cash and checks and credit cards and debit cards and all those different types of payments. We also have these "Let's Talk About It" bubbles where it asks questions of students based on what they've read for them to think about an answer in the booklet. We also have an array of activities. So "How Do I Choose" is asking students to think about the different choices that they make during the day, whether it's what club to join or what they're going to eat for breakfast. And it's kind of getting them set up to start thinking about money decisions. We also have a budget in there. There's a "Cool Facts" section, where you can see this one is talking about the Rule of 72. So those are sprinkled in. And then, of course, we have glossary terms that are highlighted throughout the entire book to just keep reinforcing the concepts that are discussed.
Go to the next one. So "Great Minds Think" interactive, this is something new, so you guys are actually getting a sneak peek. We haven't released this yet, but we will be sometime in the near future. This is going to be releases of progressive web apps. So essentially what that means is that you're able to use it on mobile, desktop. You can use it on your tablet, essentially any type of tech that you'd like to. It's going to be downloadable, again, with iTunes and the Google Play Store as well. It's available in both English and Spanish. And the cool thing that you'll see as I go through this is we really took accessibility into account when building this, so it is accessible to a screen reader. It's accessible to students who might have some visual impairment. We also have visual cues for when they get answers right or wrong. We also added a lot of color contrast and, again, visuals and graphics that I think will help students learn this content a little easier.
So if you want to go to the next slide. So these are the topics. So, again, because we built this, obviously, based on the publication of "Great Minds Think," it's very similar, although there are some differences in how we chose to adapt it. So I'm going to walk through each one of these sections and kind of explain some of the interactive activities that we have in that and the characters that you're going to meet and what those activities look like.
So if you want to go to the next slide. So this is going to be our choices section. So a couple of things to point out. It may be a little hard to see, but up at the top that white bar, so what that's tracking is actually the student's completion for each of the sections. And then down on the bottom right corner, this is one of our characters, Monte the Money Tree squirrel. He's actually the mascot for the Cleveland Fed Learning Center, but he's going to introduce the students to each section and provide guidance and help them along the way. In this section, very similar to the book, they're looking at different choice options. So I believe this one is asking them—you know, giving them a scenario about what type of after‑school club that they want to join, what are the consequences of joining one versus the other and benefits and different things like that.
Go to the next one. So this section that we're moving on to, this is earnings. So a couple of different topics that we're going to be discussing here is how students can utilize their skills and talent to earn income. We're also going to be talking about goal setting. So, for instance, if you see Alex, he's another one of our characters the students are going to be introduced to. So he has a goal in mind that he wants to buy a bike. So as students move through this interactive, they're completing these activities to learn more information so they can help Alex buy this bike. And as you see, there's a drawing board on the bottom right‑hand corner, so this is having students think about what is the goal that you want to achieve. They can draw a picture. And we've got a couple of other different areas where they're going to be using that goal to create a budget and different things like that.
We're also going to be asking students to calculate earnings. So the screenshot in the upper right corner, you can see a lawn mower and flowers. It's giving students two scenarios where they've earned income by mowing a lawn and by planting flowers, and they have to do a calculation, you know, to figure out how much they're going to earn, and using Alex as an example, who's trying to buy a concert ticket, of how much they're going to have left over and if they've earned enough.
So if you want to go to the next slide. So this section is going to be spending. So it's going to focus a lot on different ways that you can pay for things. It's also going to focus on opportunity costs as well as needs and wants. This screenshot that you see in the upper left corner is one of our glossary activities. So similar to the publication, there's obviously terms that are highlighted and discussed throughout the entire interactive, and students will be quizzed on those following that text, where they can drop and drag those options into a box. And, actually, they can't move on until they get all of the answers correct. So if you'll see the first one that's highlighted in green, that lets them know they chose incorrectly.
If you want to go to the next slide. So the last two aspects of this interactive are going to cover budgeting, which is what that pink portion is. So you'll notice that there is a red—the first option, where they're calculating out a budget based on the information they've been provided, is highlighted in red. So there's answer validation that goes along with a lot of this math, where it's letting them know if they've gotten the answer correct or incorrect. So you'll see the second option is green, meaning that they've entered the information in. And, obviously, the budgeting section is going to cover income and expenses. They're going to practice doing a budget, like you see here, and then they'll be asked to create their own around the goal that they've chosen earlier.
The bottom right‑hand screenshot is our activities section. So this is really meant as a review of the key concepts and the vocab that has been discussed throughout the whole section. And, again, there is answer validation in here, where if they get the correct answer, it's green, an incorrect goes to red. And, also, another thing that I'll mention in this, too, is that there is a menu bar, where if they need assistance with some of the glossary terms, they can swipe over, and the whole glossary will come up. They can also hover over if they need to refresh and different things like that.
So I'll go to the very last portion, if you want to go to the next slide. So the last thing I'll talk about is the student program that we've recently implemented in the last two years. So Danny Dollar Academy is a program that we've worked in collaboration with Northern Kentucky University Center for Economic Education to produce. It targets students in grades 3 through 5. If you're interested in learning more implementing this program within your school, there is a whole website that is devoted to this program, which I've listed here.
So essentially how this is set up is that there are various components, the first being there's a pre- and post‑assessment that's going to gage students' understanding and knowledge. It's based on the national economics test. It's about 12 questions. So they'll take that before they begin the program and then after the program. And I'm going to share some data from that a little later. They will also—The teachers will attend a PD, where they can get resources, and we have provided information, again, if you want to implement this in your district that you can use. We also have lesson plans as well as supplemental resources, and I've listed the lesson plan topics here. All of the lessons center around the book, which is the main part of the program. The book is pictured here. If you can read the title, it's Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire ‑ The Lemonade Escapade. It's very, very fun for the students to read. It's got a lot of vocab and different concepts, which, again, are only reinforced by the curriculum. The curriculum can be stand-alone. You don't have to use it with the program, but you're more than welcome to adapt it in whatever way that you choose.
So another component that we've implemented with this program is an author visit. So the author of the book comes out, and he does a big talk. And students, we ask them to put together a project, which usually ends up being a classroom business that they then bring to this author visit, and they'll present to the author and the other students in attendance.
Or if you just want to go to the next slide. So this is just showing an example of one of the lesson plans. Again, we include all of the worksheets in this. We give you an instructional procedure, key vocabs. So literally everything that you would need to teach these is all included in this one packet. It's all aligned to jump-start financial literacy standards. And we also include some differentiation and extension suggestions for those who might have students who are having difficulty doing some of the math or maybe some of the reading in the book. There are—Sorry. There are ELA lesson plans that also go with this that were developed by NKU. And all of these materials can be found on the website and, again, can be used with this book, or they can be used separately.
Then if you just want to go to the next slide. So, again, one of the components of this program is that author visit. So, again, the students are reading the book, they're doing the curriculum, they're working on their class project, and it all culminates in this author visit, which anybody can bring the author to their school, but these are just a couple of pictures from the students. This year I think we had about 2,000 students—I'm sorry, this year—2019 we had about 2,000 students who participated in the program across the Fourth District, and that is actually only expanding as we move into it further.
And then the last slide just references the pre- and post‑assessment that I shared. So from all of the students who participated in the program, obviously, we want to make sure it's working. So overall students were able to demonstrate an increase of 16 percent of a knowledge game between their pre- and post‑assessments. I've also highlighted a couple of key areas where we saw some gains. So in decision‑making, economic systems, and, of course, entrepreneurship, which is the main theme of this entire program. Those were quite high as well.
And with that, I'm just going to end my portion of the presentation and turn it back over to Jean and Kris.
Jean Roark: Thanks so much, Zan, I appreciate it. I know we have—We are one minute over. There's just one question that came in so far. So I'd like to announce that in hopes that one of you might be able to answer that. Actually, Kris, you might have the answer to this one. Any future webinars scheduled similar to today's webinar? If so, when? So, Kris, I wonder if you or I have that date in mind.
Kris Bertelsen: We have a date of April 22nd for another ECONnections webinar on historical topics, and March 11th, so next week, we have one, our Econ Lowdown series as well. But in terms of another elementary webinar, we haven't set one yet to my knowledge.
Jean Roark: Okay. Thank you so much for that. I'm just going to take a peek and see if anybody else submitted a question. All right. Checking the inbox, and I don't see anything.
So at this time I just want to say thank you to our participants for joining us today and thank you to our presenters for sharing your time and expertise. I really appreciate you doing that. I am going to push out a survey for our participants. It's the same survey that's going to come to you via e‑mail as well. You really only have to fill it out once, but we would love to hear your feedback. Again, thank you so much for joining us. This concludes today's Federal Reserve ECONnections Webinar. Enjoy the rest of your day.