Keeping It Real: Teach ACRL Information Literacy Frames with FRED Data

In this activity, students first learn about the concepts of nominal and real values and inflation. Then they learn about basic strategies for establishing the reliability of a data source. Students work in FRED® and use the formula real = (nominal/CPI)*100 to plot inflation-adjusted minimum wage rates for two states and compare the results. Students then discuss the new information created as a result of their work.


Students will be able to

  • create new FRED® graphs;
  • define minimum wage, nominal and real wages, and consumer price index (CPI);
  • identify metadata in a FRED® graph;
  • identify additional questions for further research;
  • describe the difference between data sources and aggregators;
  • describe the difference between nominal and real wages; and
  • understand the issues of authority regarding trustworthiness, reliability, and credibility of data sources.

Compelling Question

How can you determine the purchasing power of wages and earnings over time?



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Education Level: 9-12 College
Subjects: Economics Data Literacy
Concepts: Inflation/Deflation Income Markets
Resource Types: Data Lesson Charts/Graphs
Languages: English
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