Four Resources to Add Financial Literacy to Your Middle School Curriculum
Is financial literacy really necessary for middle school students? Simply stated—yes. Even in prosperous times, children need to understand the value of a dollar. Teaching the basics of our financial system to middle school children will provide them with a foundation to build on as adults.
- The Internet makes buying (and charging) music, games, books and other goods so easy that consumers are getting into financial trouble at an earlier age.
- If children learn principles like “nothing is free” and “saving for the future is wise” then they begin to develop stronger critical- thinking skills related to money and finance.
- Some estimates suggest that 20 percent of the people filing for bankruptcy in the United States are under the age of 25.
- Credit for higher education is easy to get and students need to learn to examine the effects of interest on student loans before they make decisions about financing their college years.
- There is a disparity between what children in middle and upper income homes learn about money and what children on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder are exposed to while at home.
Resources and professional development for the classroom
The first step in helping students achieve a better understanding of how financial management can lead to a more secure financial future might involve teacher education. Jump$tart offers activities and information for educators seeking to gain more financial literacy knowledge or improve personal competency. Jump$tart also includes information about programs and corporate sponsorships that teachers can access to enhance classroom participation.
Council for Economic Education
Online lesson plans provide detailed instructions for introducing and reinforcing financial literacy in K-12 classrooms. One example provides a comparative analysis of the Chevy Volt. Students explore concepts like consumer choice, supply and demand, operating costs and price calculations. Other lesson plans highlight important key elements related to interest calculations and how rate and term determine the costs associated with borrowing money.
National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
NEFE provides a wealth of tools and services designed to enhance and facilitate financial independence for educators and students. From lesson plans to assistance with scheduling workshops and professional development activities, NEFE is dedicated to improving the financial health of all people regardless of their professional or socioeconomic status.
National Financial Education Center
This online resource is an excellent source for teachers who want to engage middle school children in activities designed to promote financial awareness. The activities are effective tools to shape attitudes and behaviors consistent with financial responsibility. Resources for guest speakers are also available from the NFEC website.
When it comes to adding financial literacy training to middle school classrooms, educators have access to numerous online resources through the federal government, non-profit foundations, educational partnerships and private citizen-funded endowment programs.