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.

Learn about more ways to use FRED:


Below is the full transcript of this video presentation. It has not been edited for readability, and there may be slight differences between the text and the video.

Mike Kaiman: The cool thing with Fred is this is actual real-time data literacy that students can understand and learn from in a way that is fairly engaging to them—God forbid almost—dare I say, entertaining to them.

My students are AP U.S. History students. And all of my kids—regardless of their ability, regardless of their usual pattern of behavior in my classroom, all took to these lessons very, very well, like a fish to water.

It is a challenge to get students to understand not just basic economic principles but then how you can manipulate those kinds of data to possibly change the way you view a particular historical topic, a particular time. But the ease of the FRED website, just to change a graph from a line graph to a bar graph or, change from, you know, change a time frame from decades down to years or months to quarters really made it easy for the students to kind of grasp that so that they could then take it one step further and start to play around with the data to try and massage it, if you will, into getting a conclusion that made sense.

And so I was absolutely thrilled that I could find this particular website and use these data sets to enrich my classroom.


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Education Level: 9-12 College Non-educators
Subjects: Economics AP Economics Mathematics AP U.S. History STEM Data Literacy
Concepts: Unemployment Employment Economy
Resource Types: Charts/Graphs Data Lesson Website Activity Tutorial Instructional Guide Video
Languages: English