Tools for Teaching with FRED

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Tools for Teaching with FRED incorporates tutorials, instructional guides, lesson plans and activities with FRED, the St. Louis Fed's "Federal Reserve Economic Data" website.

Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) lets users download, graph and track more than a quarter million U.S. and international time series from dozens of sources. Create, save, update and share your own custom graphs using current and historical economic data.

Innovative high school teacher Mike Kaiman talks about the many benefits of using FRED to bring vintage primary source data to AP U.S. history students in this short video:

Learn more about this video »

Watch as high school students master the latest FRED upgrades to discover, graph and manipulate data.
Also: Are Your Students Ready for FRED? Watch as high school students master the latest FRED upgrades to discover, graph and manipulate data »

Lesson Plans and Activities:

10 FRED Activities in 10 Minutes

Take a 10-minute guided tour of the newly updated FRED, the St. Louis Fed's free economic data website. Simple step-by-step activities equip users to find and graph economic data, mastering FRED's new look and feel. The guide also shows how to customize, save, and share a FRED graph.

•  Activities guide (pdf)

•  More about 10 FRED Activities in 10 Minutes


Analyzing the Elements of Real GDP in FRED Using Stacking

This online activity shows how to use FRED, the Federal Reserve's free online economic data website, 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.

•  Lesson (pdf)

•  More about Analyzing the Elements of Real GDP in FRED Using Stacking


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.

•  Lesson (pdf)

•  More about the Everything Including the Kitchen Sink - Progressive Reforms and Economic Wealth in the 1920s lesson


FRED in the Classroom: Debt and Deficit

A lesson on the U.S. deficit, debt and debt to GDP ratio to be used in conjunction with FRED.

•  Lesson (pdf)

•  More about the FRED in the Classroom: Debt and Deficit lesson


FRED in the Classroom: Employment and the Labor Force

A lesson on employment and the labor force to be used in conjunction with FRED.

•  Lesson (pdf)

•  More about the FRED in the Classroom: Employment and the Labor Force lesson


FRED in the Classroom: Measures of Inflation

A lesson on measures of inflation to be used in conjunction with FRED.

•  Lesson (pdf)

•  More about the FRED in the Classroom: Measures of Inflation lesson


Lifetime Inflation Activity

Following simple instructions, you will locate the overall level of U.S. consumer prices as it existed on your birth date. You will then compare that level with the level today to see how prices have inflated during your lifetime. FRED's ability to create a graph with a custom index scale will allow you to visualize the rise in prices over your lifetime.

•  Lesson (pdf)

•  More about the Lifetime Inflation Activity lesson


Tutorials and Instructional Guides:

Making Friends with FRED: One Teacher's Story

Have your students met FRED? Innovative high school teacher Mike Kaiman talks about the many benefits of using FRED to bring vintage primary source data to AP U.S. history students.

•  Watch Making Friends with FRED: One Teacher's Story


Are Your Students Ready for FRED?

What happens when you introduce an AP U.S. history class to FRED? Watch as high school students master the latest FRED upgrades to discover, graph and manipulate data.

•  Watch Are Your Students Ready for FRED?


Websites:

Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics - Teaching with FRED

This site introduces economists to innovative teaching strategies using Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED). It provides instructors with the tools to begin integrating and assessing these teaching strategies in their own classrooms; it also promotes the sharing of teaching innovations among instructors. Included among the strategies are seven lessons for integrating FRED.

•  More about Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics - Teaching with FRED


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If you have difficulty accessing this content due to a disability, please contact us at 314-444-4662 or economiceducation@stls.frb.org.

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Audience:   High School, College, Consumers
Language:   English
Subjects:   Economics, AP, Mathematics, Civics/Government, AP History
Resource Types:   Charts/Graphs, Data, Lessons, Website, Series, Activity, STEM, Tutorial, Instructional Guide
Concepts:   Unemployment, Employment, Economy, Deficit, Inflation/Deflation

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