Your students are all familiar with money. Whether they are buying a car or paying for their daily gallon of some weird energy drink, your students have cash on their minds. However, most of them do not stop to think about what money really is and what defines it. You will want to start this unit by exploring the essential functions of money, and then move into the question of whether our money system is on the verge of a major transformation. Drawing on two types of currency your students likely encounter every day—debit cards and cash—your students will engage in a debate that will sharpen their understanding of money’s functions and start them thinking about the changing nature of commerce.
We have also included several activities dealing with the Federal Reserve Board. The economic adventure will help your students understand its powers, while another activity will show your students the impact of a simple interest-rate change. These activities will set up the discussion questions we raise about the power and autonomy of the Federal Reserve Board.