Tools for Teaching with FRED

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

This lesson plan is designed to supplement the “FRED Interactive: Information Literacy” online course available through

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.

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.

Neighborhood Redlining and Homeownership Lesson

Through a guided discussion and review of data, students learn that the practice of racial segregation concentrated African Americans in the lowest-graded, or redlined, neighborhoods.



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