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Economics sites help students learn to be smarter consumers, savers, and investors. The sites provide interactive activities, lesson plans, games, curriculum materials, articles, and other resources for teaching and learning about economics. Included: Fourteen great sites for teaching personal finance and economic systems in the classroom.

Learning the basics of economics and personal finance is a necessity for financial survival. Learning how to save or invest for retirement, make wise consumer choices, manage credit cards, and adhere to a budget can mean the difference between a life of comfort and one of crippling debt. The Web sites below offer a variety of tool students can use to practice the skills they'll need in "real life," as well as useful tools to help teachers show students how their lessons apply to the real world.

Don't Buy It!
This interactive site teaches children media literacy by focusing on advertising tricks and techniques in all media. Such activities as designing a cereal box, becoming a detective, and creating an ad will help kids explore the tricks of the advertising trade. Children are encouraged to learn how to see through a sales pitch to become a smart consumer. The teacher section contains lesson plans to help students learn to evaluate and analyze the media messages they see.

Here's a wacky way to learn about the world of finance -- and a great way to introduce young people to such concepts as supply and demand, business costs, loans and interest, and bankruptcy. In this free shareware game, a player becomes "an intergalactic wheeler-dealer rocketing among the seven planets of Kukubia as head of your own trading company." Teachers might want to use the game as an enrichment and/or free-time activity to supplement the regular curriculum.

U.S.Mint's Site for Kids
This site, also called h.i.p. (History in your Pocket) pocket change, offers many entertaining and informative games and activities about coins. Kids can put together a puzzle of a state quarter, watch an animated movie about how coins are made, and read lots of fun facts about the U.S. Mint and what it does. A time machine takes visitors back to look at coins in U.S. history. A teacher section with lesson and unit plans also is included.

Virtual Developing Country
In the Virtual Developing Country section of Virtual Worlds, students can take a series of five field trips to learn about the developing country of Zambia in Africa. Each stop on the tours introduces students to the people and places, as well as to related economic issues. Teachers will find everything they need to use the resource effectively in the classroom, including teacher's guides, work sheets, a glossary, and downloadable data sets, as well as development, geographic, economic and political background information.

The Economic Education Web is a portal to economic education resources in all forms and at all levels. EcEdWeb's K-12 electronic curriculum has a K-6 and a 7-12 component linked to national standards. Included are a list of key concepts students should learn during each grade level and a set of lesson plans to help facilitate that learning. If you know the concept you want to teach, start from the K-5 concept list or the 6-12 concept list.


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Article by Hazel Jobe
Education World®
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Updated 10/22/2012