By Alexandria Halmbacher and Cariss Turner
Field trips to learn about money. Traveling exhibits about history. Classroom activities on economics and financial literacy. These are just a few of the free resources – aligned with educational standards – that the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland offers to educators, libraries, community organizations and museums.
As part of the country’s central bank, the Cleveland Fed helps provide the nation with a safer and more stable monetary and financial system, but it also supports the well-being of communities across its district (Ohio, eastern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania and the panhandle of West Virginia). One of the ways we do this is by working with and providing resources to educators. Here’s an overview of what we offer:
Would you like to enhance your social studies or history lessons? Consider borrowing one of our traveling exhibits to display at your school. Exhibits include “Hamilton,” which details Alexander Hamilton’s role in laying the foundation for today’s financial system; “Money of the World Today,” which explores currency from 192 countries; and the “Freedman’s Bank: A Story of Faith, Family and Finance,” which delves into the history of how the bank, created in 1865 to serve newly emancipated African Americans, impacts families, communities and financial systems today. There is no charge to borrow our exhibits.
We also offer a range of free, easy-to-access resources on our website. For example, “Great Minds Think: A New Guide to Money,” is an activity book that teaches middle school students basic personal finance concepts through fun and engaging exercises. Another popular resource is “Escape from the Barter Islands,” a web-based game and mobile app that teaches students about the barter system and the value of a uniform and acceptable currency. Both of these resources are available in English and Spanish.
In addition, the Cleveland Fed works with our Federal Reserve colleagues around the country to maintain a website of K-12 resources that includes curricula, games, videos and activities. Want to teach students about credit and debit cards or how inflation works? Go to FederalReserveEducation.org for resources on these topics and more.
Danny Dollar Academy
Danny Dollar is the main character in the book “Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire: Lemonade Escapade,” and through Danny Dollar Academy, he’s a model for promoting financial literacy and entrepreneurship to elementary school students. Since Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Economic Education helped develop the program in 2016, it has reached more than 2,000 students across Kentucky and Ohio with powerful concepts and lessons.
Over the course of the program, educators attend a professional development workshop, during which they receive free training, a standards-aligned financial literacy curriculum and resources. Participating classrooms are encouraged to complete a student-led project that is presented at an event that includes a presentation by the author of “Danny Dollar.” If you’re interested in learning more, contact us. You can also download the lesson plans for free.
New Education Space in Cincinnati
The Cleveland Fed just opened a dedicated education space in its Cincinnati Branch. In response to demand from the community, we’re using this resource to expand our education and outreach efforts, from educator workshops to student programs to public tours. If you choose to take a tour, which you can reserve online, you and your students will learn about the history and structure of the Federal Reserve, discover the role the central bank plays in the nation’s economy and participate in hands-on activities that illustrate key economic concepts.
This is just a sample of what the Cleveland Fed provides to educators and the community. We invite you to explore our website to see the full suite of content and to reach out to us if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you.
Alexandria Halmbacher and Cariss Turner are with the education and museum outreach staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.