Exciting Lessons For Teachers

Fun ways to integrate economics 

into your daily lessons. 


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Fun, Step-by-Step Lessons for Creative Teachers
to Incorporate Economics into Current Curriculum

Our lessons are exciting and include hands-on activities and simulations. Many of the lessons utilize award-winning juvenile literature and allow creative teachers to incorporate economics into their current curriculum on a daily basis. 

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Lesson Plans

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Adventures in Economics and U.S. History

Volume 1: Colonial America

This book contains fifteen hands-on lessons including topics such as:  Indian economies, the resources of the Pilgrims, the Virginia Company as an investment, the role of trade, comparison of the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies, colonial money, a study of the economic opportunities of women, slaves, artisans, farmers, and large landowners in colonial times.  Many of the lessons are based on children’s literature, including books by popular writers such as Jean Fritz and Don Hall.  All lessons include handouts and activities such as games, simulations or songs. (138 pages)  Grades 4-8


Volume 2: A Young Nation

This book contains sixteen hands-on lessons including topics such as:  exploring the economic relationship between the colonies and England; looking at the trade-offs made in writing the Constitution; exploring the role of Eli Whitney’s invention in the spread of cotton plantations across the South; study of the demand for cotton created by the manufacturing North; the Gettysburg Address and a cost-benefit analysis of the Civil War; decision-making of those who chose to be pioneers; and the movement from an agricultural society to an urban society.  Many of the lessons are based on children’s literature including book by such popular writers as Jean Fritz, Deborah Hopkinson, and Peter and Connie Roop.  All lessons include reproducible handouts as well as games, simulations or songs. (152 pages)  Grades 4-8


Volume 3: The Twentieth Century

This book contains sixteen hands-on lessons including topics such as: the incentives of immigrants; the costs and benefits of industrialization; the unintended consequences of prohibition; the costs of the Stock Market Crash of 1929; costs of bank failures of the Great Depression; the unemployed in the Great Depression; families in the Dust Bowl; migrant workers with Cesar Chavez; Martin Luther King and civil rights; globalization and why people trade; plus lessons about people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosie the Riveter, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Madam C.J. Walker. All of the lessons have literature links, reproducible handouts as well as games, simulations or songs. (169 pages) Grades 4-8


Below, download the Common Core Standards for each lesson in each of the three volumes and The National Standards in Economics Correlated to Adventures in Economics and U.S. History.


Coming soon – Common Core Standards for each lesson in Adventures in Economics and U.S. History Volume 3: The Twentieth Century.



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* If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free.


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Adventures in the Stock Market

In twelve exciting lessons students in elementary and middle school learn about the stock market.  Each lesson opens with a list of basic concepts and national standards in economics and personal finance, followed by several hands-on activities.  Lessons also include closure questions, assessment activities, and an extension section with reinforcement activities such as references to relevant children’s literature, puzzles, and even songs to familiar tunes with words that describe the concepts.  Pre- and Post-Tests are included in the appendix, along with a glossary.


Many teachers who use these lessons may be participating in an organized ten week simulation such as The Stock Market Game www.smgww.org or The Stock Market Simulation www.nationalsms.com, so we have written some suggestions for those teachers in the appendix. These excellent programs are enjoyed by thousands of teachers. If you have not done so, we encourage you to explore these options. Both programs engage students in online simulated trading with real prices.  In them, students compete with many other teams.  This competition lends added excitement to the experience—excitement that can spill over into other areas and really enhance the learning environment. You will find that students will now have reasons to use "real-world" math skills.  They will have reasons to pay attention to the news. They will have opportunities to use research skills before they make investments.  Also, when students operate in teams, they will learn skills in working together. 


Thus, we hope these lessons will help students learn the importance of saving and investing for their futures.  We think they can also learn more about the role of business in the economy, as well as how the stock market helps businesses raise financial capital while letting small investors share in their success or failure.  Along the way, we are confident they will learn more about the economy as they practice math, research and decision-making skills.  And as a bonus, these activities add lots of excitement to the classroom.   grades 3 to 7


Below, download The National Standards in Economics Correlated to Adventures in The Stock Market .

Coming soon – Common Core Standards for each lesson in Adventures in the Stock Market.


Also below, download some free puzzles and lessons and see how fun and it can be to learn about the stock market!

The Stock Market Song Book

Letter Tiles Puzzle for Lesson 1 - How to Reach My Savings Goal

Word Search - Vocabulary in Lessons 1 - 2 - Starting to Save

Word Search - Vocabulary in Lessons 8 - 12

Double Puzzle for Lesson 5 - What Kind of Company?

Double Puzzle for Lesson 10 - Reduce Your Risk!

Word Puzzle for Lesson 10 - How Do Mutual Funds Work?


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* If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free.



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Puppet Economics

Using this resource, teachers can guide students as they create their own original puppet show and experience basic economic concepts. They start with decision-making as they choose the plot and characters. They experience production and scarce resources as they create puppets.


Specialization and interdependence come into action when students organize for production. They build their own human capital when they rehearse and present their show.


Finally, they learn about the critical role of consumers as they market their show. In addition to the step-by-step teacher's instructions, the guide includes 30 lessons, activity sheets, supply lists, ideas for making puppets, puppetry tips and sample puppet plays.   (129 pages) Grades K-8


Puppet Economics gives step-by-step instructions for guiding students as they write their own original puppet shows and learn economic concepts along the way. In the process:

  • Students learn about economic decision making as they plan the plot and create the characters for their show
  • They make choices about production and resources as they design and create the puppets
  • They experience specialization and interdependence when organizing for production
  • They learn about consumers as they market their show
  • They see the value of human capital as they rehearse and present their show


This is an outstanding program for elementary through middle-school classrooms.  It also is a great addition to a home-schoolers curriculum.


Below, download our Puppet Planning Chart, the Table of Contents and The National Standards in Economics Correlated to Puppet Economics


Coming soon – Common Core Standards for each lesson in Puppet Economics.


Order your book today!


* If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free.


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Spotting Economics: From Africa to Ice Cream

Through 15 engaging hands-on lessons, students will learn to notice economics in action in their everyday lives. They begin by learning to "spot" the economics in popular children's literature by authors such as: Harriet Ziefert, Russell Hoban, Judith Viorst, Robert McClosky, Anne Rockwell, Gail Gibbons, Pat Brisson, and Tomie dePaola.

Each lesson starts off using an "Economics Spotter List" to find the economic concepts in a story---about subjects from Africa to Ice Cream. The concepts are then reinforced through activities, games and songs. Five bonus "mini-lessons" are included to show how to use the "Economics Spotter List" with other books. Lessons also include reproducible handouts.
(107 pages) Grades K-5


Below, download More information about how to help your students become "Economics Spotters!", including Table of Contents, The National Standards in Economics Correlated to Spotting Economics: From Africa to Ice Cream and the Common Core Standards for each lesson in Spotting Economics: From Africa to Ice Cream.


Order your book today!


* If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free.

Try out sample lesson plans!

Colonial Worker's Web from Adventures in Economics and U.S. History, Volume 1

The "Colonial Worker's Web" is an engaging hands-on activity for elementary students. It helps students compare specialization and interdependence in today's economy to colonial times. Get out your ball of yarn and get ready to sit on the floor!


"Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement: They wanted more than the right to vote!" 

 from Adventures in Economics and U.S. History, Volume 3


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* If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free.


About the authors

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Suzanne Gallagher became involved in the economic education movement and taught economics at the University of West Florida from 1976 to 1989. While there she was awarded the "Teacher of the Year" in the School of Business, the Levy Award from the Freedom Foundation as well as awards from the National Council on Economic Education (now CEE) for her creative lessons. In 1990 she joined the economics faculty and became Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Economic Education. While there she received the Bessie Moore Award from the National Association of Economic Educators, the 2006 Albert Beekhuis Award from the Council on Economic Education as the outstanding Center for Economic Education and the J. Curtis Hall Award from the Virginia Council on Economic Education for her devotion to the economic education mission. 


Over the years, Suzanne taught thousands of college students and thousands of teachers K-12. The teacher programs were designed to introduce principles of economics with hands-on activities that teachers could take to their own classrooms. 

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Suzanne met Martha Hopkins when Martha was an elementary teacher taking one of Suzanne's summer workshops in Florida. Martha, who had been hesitant to take the economics workshop, immediately began winning awards for her creative lessons.  


While teaching, Martha received the Associate Master Teacher Award from the state of Florida. She also won the framed George Washington Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for her economics work in her classroom.  When Martha retired from teaching she went to Kansas University to pursue a PhD in economic education. From there she went to James Madison University as program manager. While at James Madison she received the Bessie Moore Award from the National Association of Economic Educators. And during that time Martha wrote Puppet Economics, a project based learning curriculum; she also wrote economics lessons for the National Council on Economic Education (now CEE), the Federal Reserve Bank and others.


About the year 2000, in Virginia, many of the economics concepts were embedded in elementary and middle school US History. Teachers needed help, so Martha and Suzanne teamed up and wrote hands-on lessons for them resulting in three volumes of Adventures in Economics and U.S. History. Later, for primary classrooms, they wrote Spotting Economics: From Africa to Ice Cream. The purpose of these hands-on lessons was to show teachers and librarians how to spot the economics in children's literature.


Many teachers in grades 4-12 involve their students in stock market simulations. Martha and Suzanne had worked with these teachers for many years, so they wrote Adventures in the Stock Market, hands-on lessons for teaching how the stock market and investing work.

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Students learning economics through history and literature

children’s books

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Check out other excellent books for history lessons in Adventures in Economics and U.S. History.

Abe Lincoln's Hat, by Martha Brenner


Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive Life, by E. MacLeod


Annie and the Old One, by Miska Miles


The Back of Beyond- A Story About Lewis and Clark, by A. Bowen.


Barefoot: Escape on the Underground, by Pamela Edwards


Benjamin Franklin's Adventures With Electricity, by B. Birch


The Bill of Rights, by Conrad Stein


Bold Journey West with Lewis and Clark, by C.Bohner  


Boom Town, by Sonia Levitin


Can't You Make Them Behave, King George, by Jean Fritz 


The Constitution, by Patricia Ryon Quiri 


Daily Life on a Southern Plantation 1853, by Paul Erickson


Eli Whitney, by Jean Lee Latham


The Farm - Life in Colonial Pennsylvania, by James E. Knight


George Washington- A Picture Book Biography, by M. Dooling


George Washington's Breakfast, by Jean Fritz


The Goat in the Rug, by Charles L. Blood


If You Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln, by Ann McGovern


If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution, by Kay Moore


If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War, by Kay Moore


If You Lived in Colonial Times, by Ann McGovern


If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days, by B. Brenner


If You Lived With the Cherokee, by Anne Kamma


If You Lived With the Hopi, by Anne Kamma


If You Lived With the Iroquois, by Ellen Levine


If You Lived With the Sioux Indians, by Anne Kamma


If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon, by Ellen Levine


If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad, by E. Levine


Jamestown - A New World Adventure, by James E. Knight


The Jamestown Colony, by Gail Sakurai


Journey to Monticello- Traveling in Colonial Times, by James Knight


Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder


A Lion to Guard Us, by Clyde Robert Bulla


Lewis and Clark- Explorers of the American West, by S. Kroll


Meet Abraham Lincoln, by Barbara Cary


Next Spring An Oriole, by Gloria Whelan


Night Journeys, by Avi


Pink and Say, by Patricia Polacco


Pocahontas and the Strangers, by Clyde Robert Bulla


Salem Days - Life in a Colonial Seaport, by James E. Knight


Sarah Morton's Day- A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl, by Kate Waters


Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan


Seventh and Walnut- Life in Colonial Philadelphia, by James Knight


The Story of Thomas Alva Edison, by M. Cousins


Striking It Rich- The California Gold Rush, by S. Krensky


Two Tickets to Freedom, by Florence P. Freedman


The Village- Life in Colonial Times, by James E. Knight


What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, by Jean Fritz


Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?, by J. Fritz


Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?, by Jean Fritz


American History Simulations, by Max W. Fischer


related links

IDEAS FOR USE WITH LESSONS IN VOL. 1

The Pilgrims: Surviving in the New World
Colonists


The Virginia Company: Would You Invest?
The Virginia Company


What Happened at Jamestown?
History of Jamestown
Pocahontas (site 1)
Pocahontas (site 2)
Artifacts from Jamestown
Timeline of Events Leading up to Jamestown
Life in the Jamestown Settlement


Exploring Their Choices: King James, Investors, Colonists, and Indians
Jamestown Biographies


Why Did They Trade?
Agricultural History


A Colonial Marketplace
A Timeline of Money in the "Time Machine"
History of U.S. Money


The Colonial Workers Web
Colonial Williamsburg
George Washington's Neighborhood: Mount Vernon
Smithsonian Website: Why a Plantation


Apprenticeship: Developing Human Capital
Ben Franklin the Printer
Excerpts from Poor Richard's Almanac


Producing:  In the Past and In the Present
USDA Web Sites:
Agriculture and Math Fun
USDA State Offices
Life on the Farm
Current Farming