Making Cents of Financial Literacy and Economic Education
information for Pennsylvania teachers in grades K - 12
 January 2014 
Free Webinars Coming Up
Register Now for the 2014 Making Cents Webinars

The topics and speakers for the January 23rd and February 19th Making Cents webinars have been announced and online registration is open. These free online professional development programs are offered at two times to accommodate various schedules: 3:00pm - 4:30pm and 6:30pm - 8:00pm. Each offers Act 48 credit to participants with a valid PPID number.

The January 23rd sessions will feature the following topics and speakers:
  • Online and Print Resources from the Federal Reserve presented by Todd Zartman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia - The Federal Reserve System has more resources for teaching economics and personal finance than you can count. This session will provide an overview of some of the most popular and newest resources available through and the individual Reserve Banks. 
  • Financial Institutions as a Classroom Resource presented by Tom Thunstrom of Penn Liberty Bank-  Learn about ways that bankers and other financial service professionals can be used as a resource in your classroom as well as how to connect with the right individual.
  • Making Cents Projects presented by Hilary Hunt of the Making Cents Project - This brief presentation will provide information on the K-8 Personal Finance Integration Feasibility Study and Model High School Personal Finance Course Curriculum projects currently underway.
The February 19th sessions will feature the following topics and speakers:
  • Online Games that Teach Personal Finance and/or Economics presented by Hilary Hunt of the Making Cents Project - From the Stock Market Game to the Great Piggy Bank Adventure to Financial Football and more, this presentation will introduce some of the games available to teach students about personal finance and economics. 
  • Understanding Interest Rates presented by Dr. Andrew Hill of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia - Go beyond just knowing the difference between simple and compound interest. Learn how interest rates are determined and what factors influence them.
  • New Survey of Teachers presented by Hilary Hunt of the Making Cents Project - Learn about an upcoming survey of teachers about personal finance and economics in the state and how you can help to gather information for it and ultimately use the data collected.

Registration is limited, so please reserve your spot now. Registration information for all of the webinars can be found at


These webinars are offered free of charge to all Pennsylvania teachers and administrators through a partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Penn State University. 

Resource Spotlight
Hands on Banking 

Hands on Banking is a free, online financial education curriculum designed for both self-paced, individual learning and classroom use. In the educator section, teachers can access instructor guides, standards correlations, and course previews. 


Provided by Wells Fargo, the program is designed for multiple audiences:

  • Kids: 4th - 5th grades
  • Teens: 6th - 8th grades
  • Young Adults: ages 15-21
  • Adults
  • Seniors
  • Military 

The program is available in both English and Spanish and includes no commercials or endorsements. While the primary site is Flash based, a mobile friendly version is available, too. Learn more at

1-2-3 Action: Videos in the Classroom
Financial Literacy: TEACH IT! Videos

Do you sometimes find that reading about an activity or simulation you can do with your students just doesn't give you enough of an explanation of what to do? Do you wish you could be a "fly on the wall" of another personal finance teacher's classroom" to see how they teach a tough concept? That's where Financial Literacy: TEACH IT comes in! The site is divided into six areas of personal finance and includes a total of 21 authentic classroom videos to help you find ways to teach those concepts. Each video begins with an introduction of the topic. In addition, the videos have accompanying lesson materials to help you bring the lesson to life in your own classroom along with a Q&A video with the teacher. 


Here are some fun videos/activities to get you started:

Expand Your Knowledge 
C Bowen
Teaching Children to Give
by Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Ph.D.


Habits and lessons we learn as children and teens are likely to be those lessons we incorporate in daily living as young and older adults. Whether the lesson is saying "please" and "thank you" when appropriate, practicing personal hygiene, or handling money, the lessons from our developing years are likely to be remembered and passed on.


Spend, save, and share, are three common themes often promoted in financial education circles, especially for those who are working with young children. Yet the "sharing theme" is seldom addressed as heavily as the spending and saving themes among older youth. This article focuses on sharing or giving to others as a component of money management among older teens.


As teachers you have opportunities to educate students about giving whether it is donating their time or money to school or community projects. For some, giving is a seasonal theme that only surfaces during the winter holidays and then fades into the background for another 10 months. However, there are opportunities to incorporate giving into the classroom beyond the holiday season. Simply expand the usual giving projects throughout the school year.


A family needing support could be adopted at the beginning of the year and several giving projects could be created to support the family. For example, students could be encouraged to put "loose change" in a container. At the end of each week or month, the change could be counted and recorded on a spreadsheet or posted on a visible thermometer in the room; similar to the technique used by United Ways to keep communities informed on local giving. The budding bankers in the class would love to have this weekly job. Depending on the amount collected each month, a direct gift of funds could be given to the family. Alternatively, a group of students could be sent on monthly shopping trips to purchase food for the family. If a family is not selected for the yearly project, food purchased with "loose change" could be given to a local food bank. Students could be encouraged to think of alternative ways to raise funds for the "loose change" container or to give in other ways.


Some suggestions are below:

  • Rent a class. Groups of students could volunteer to rake leaves or do other outdoor chores for elderly residents and accept donations for the "loose change" container.
  • Coins found on sidewalks or other locations could be put in the "loose change" container.
  • Each student could be encouraged to forgo a snack or treat once a week or month and add the saved money to the "loose change" container.
  • On their birthdays, adopted family members could receive cards designed and created by students. Creative students would love to lead this project.
  • Students with other specials skills could be encouraged to use those skills to support the family. For example, woodworkers could create a useful gift to donate to the family. Artist could paint a picture for decoration in the home.
  • At the end of the semester or year, the class reporter could write up a summary of the class activities for the school newsletter or paper or give a presentation to another school audience on the class giving efforts.

By the end of the semester or year, the students would have had several small lessons or experiences related to giving that could last a lifetime.


For more ideas on how you can plant the giving seed in the next generation, search the internet with the terms: "giving" or "service learning". Organizations that focus on giving could be other sources of inspiration include and Finally there are books for teens and children that have "giving" as a theme. These books can be easily located with a web search.

Visit us online!

Find even more resources from The Making Cents Project at!
Quick Links
Upcoming Webinars
Hands on Banking
Teaching Children to Give
There's an App for That
Literature Connection
New Report
There's an App for That!

Do you have access to tablets or mobile devices in your classroom? The Econ Ed Mobile app from The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis allows students to:

  • investigate the cost of goods and services in one year compared with another;
  • use interactive graphs to compare inflation rates at points in history; and
  • examine how interest rates, monthly payments and time can affect the overall cost of using credit.
In addition the app has several challenges in which students see how well they can estimate the cost of credit or the price of goods and service over time and try to "Beat the Expert" in a budgeting challenge.


Available on the iTunes App Store or Google Play (Android App Store). 


Children's Literature Connection
Uncle Jed's Barbershop



Reading Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell can teach students about saving, savings goals, opportunity cost, and segregation. It is a great read anytime of year; however, you might consider tying it into Black History Month in February.


As the only black barber in a county of sharecroppers during the 1920s, Uncle Jed traveled for miles to tend to his customers. Saving his money to build his very own barbershop was a dream that had to be postponed because of his glorious heart and the depression. 


A corresponding lesson aimed at students ages 9-11 is available from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia here


New Report 
Financial Education Spending


The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recently published a report analyzing the amount of money spent on providing financial education to consumers and the amount spent trying to influence consumers' decisions about financial products. The report found that for every dollar put towards financial education, $25 is spent on financial marketing, which can make it difficult for consumers to find objective information. 


View the entire report here.  

Reading the report and drawing conclusions and/or summarizing the key points would make an excellent project for high school students.  

About this Message 

Making Cents is a cooperative effort by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State University. If you find the content useful, please consider forwarding it to your colleagues. 


Team Members:

Sally Flaherty, PDE

Cathy F. Bowen, PSU

Hilary Hunt, Consultant

PDE small horizontal logo
View Previous Messages 
Have you missed a message from us in the past? Get caught up! Visit our archive of previous Making Cents eBlasts here.  

Like us on Facebook