Lesson Plans and Activities for Teaching with FRED®
Lesson plans for teaching with FRED includes instructional guides, lesson plans and activities with FRED, the St. Louis Fed's data service.
These resources guide teachers to what students will learn, how the concepts will be taught, and how learning will be assessed. They include detailed instructions to find and graph data in FRED. Create, save, update, and share your own custom graphs using current and historical economic data.
10 FRED Activities in 10 Minutes
Take a 10-minute guided tour of FRED. Simple step-by-step activities equip users to find and graph economic data. The guide also shows how to customize, save, and share a FRED graph.
- 10 FRED Activities in 10 Minutes guide (pdf)
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- Awards: The 10 FRED Activities in 10 Minutes lesson received the 2016 Curriculum Bronze Award from the National Association of Economic Educators. Learn more about our award-winning resources.
Neighborhood Redlining and Homeownership Lesson
The lesson focuses on the practice of redlining residential neighborhoods for the purpose of determining access to residential mortgages. Students evaluate data on home values for four different neighborhood types to determine how the grading system used by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) influenced the value of real estate assets. Through a guided discussion and review of data, students learn how the practice of racial segregation concentrated African Americans in the lowest-graded, or redlined, neighborhoods.
- Neighborhood Redlining and Homeownership Lesson (pdf)
- More about the Neighborhood Redlining and Homeownership Lesson
- Awards: The Neighborhood Redlining and Homeownership lesson received the 2022 Curriculum Gold Award from the National Association of Economic Educators. Learn more about our award-winning resources.
Analyzing the Elements of Real GDP in FRED Using Stacking
This activity shows how to use FRED to analyze changes in real gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP makeup over time. Following simple instructions, you will locate spending data for the individual components of real GDP, and then combine them into a highly informative area graph. You will also use FRED's ability to stack data and see how trade—imports and exports—contributes to GDP. The resulting customized graph will let you see how economic output varies from year to year.
- Analyzing the Elements of Real GDP in FRED Using Stacking Lesson (pdf)
- More about Analyzing the Elements of Real GDP in FRED Using Stacking
FRED Activities for AP Macro
This package of 17 brief FRED activities aligns perfectly with the AP Macroeconomics curriculum. Easy-to-follow instructions guide students as they create basic and advanced graphs using FRED. Each activity includes questions about real data designed to reinforce students’ understanding of fundamental AP Macro concepts. Topics include output, prices, employment, interest rates, and the Phillips curve. Download the complete packet, or pick and choose the activities in any order. As a bonus, students can save graphs to a dashboard linked to their free FRED account. Graphs can be retrieved any time and set to update automatically with the latest data.
A Cotton Tale: The United States' First Industrial Revolution (1790-1840)
This lesson allows students to understand the specific causes and consequences of the dramatic increase of cotton production in southern states and its influence on the emergence of the nation’s first major manufacturing industry—textile production.
- A Cotton Tale: The United States' First Industrial Revolution (1790-1840) Lesson (pdf)
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Everything Including the Kitchen Sink - Progressive Reforms and Economic Wealth in the 1920s
Students learn that economic forces have an impact beyond the financial world. First, they learn that Progressive Era public health reforms inspired a commercial response to the growing demand for sanitation through the rapid increase in bathroom-fixture production. Students then use FRED, economic data from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, to analyze how bathroom-fixture production changed throughout the 1920s. They examine primary documents—1920s advertising—to see how companies fused the Progressive Era with the new consumer culture. Finally, students complete the lesson by responding to AP U.S. History-style short-answer questions.
- Everything Including the Kitchen Sink - Progressive Reforms and Economic Wealth in the 1920s Lesson (pdf)
- More about the Everything Including the Kitchen Sink - Progressive Reforms and Economic Wealth in the 1920s lesson
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.
- Keeping It Real: Teach ACRL Information Literacy Frames with FRED Data Lesson (pdf)
- More about the Keeping It Real: Teach ACRL Information Literacy Frames with FRED Data lesson
Lifetime Inflation Activity
Following simple instructions, students locate the overall level of U.S. consumer prices as it existed on their individual birth dates. They will then compare that level with the level today to see how prices have inflated during their lifetime. FRED's ability to create a graph with a custom index scale allows students to visualize the rise in prices over their lifetime.
Money for Nothing: Economic Affluence in Postwar America
History students are familiar with the concept of post-World War II economic affluence. This lesson allows students to dig deeper into elements of the postwar economic boom through the mid-1960s to see that a growing economy occurs at all levels and affects people in different ways.
- Money for Nothing: Economic Affluence in Postwar America Lesson (pdf)
- More about the Money for Nothing: Economic Affluence in Postwar America lesson
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