Federal Funds and Economics Lesson Plan: The Fed Chairman Game

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this Economics lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use an economic simulation to explore the influence of the Fed on the United States’ economy.

Students will:

  1. Explain how the Fed influences the U.S. economy through our monetary policy media center.
  2. Use an economic simulation to manage the U.S. economy by keeping inflation low/stable and the unemployment rate near 5%.

Materials:

  • Interactive whiteboard (or just an LCD projector)
  • Computers with internet access

Vocabulary:

inflation, federal reserve, credit, deflation, fiscal policy, recession

Preparation:

The Fed Chairman game is a simulation of the economy of the United State's central bank. Students learn more about how the Fed influences the U.S. economy through our monetary policy media center. During game play, students' job is to keep inflation low and stable, and keep the unemployment rate near normal (5%).

To prepare for this lesson, preview the game as well as the BrainPOP resources related to the game. The Federal Reserve Education website provides additional lesson plans and activities on various topics related to economics.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Project the Fed Chairman Game for the class to see. Click on "Learn More" and then "Economic Dictionary." Choose a vocabulary term that your students need more practice with and ask students to suggest a definition in their own words. They can work collaboratively or independently to do this. If you have individual dry erase boards, students can use these to write and hold up their responses, or have students use their mobile devices to text their responses to you or share them in a backchannel conversation online. Facilitate a discussion around student answers, and then click on the word to reveal the definition provided by the federal reserve website.
  2. Click on the "Policy In-Depth" button and address student misconceptions by showing some of the quick overview videos that are embedded. You might also have students navigate the site themselves with a partner to learn about and report back on particular topics or areas of interest. Each group or pair of students can watch one of the videos and then take 2 minutes to summarize the main ideas for the class.
  3. Click on "The Fed Toolkit" and share the information there with the class in preparation for game play. Then hit "Start Over" and "Play Game." You may want to play a sample round of the game as a class. Then release students to explore it on their own or with a partner.
  4. Afterward, select a BrainPOP movie that is most closely related to the economics principles you chose to emphasize during game play (Banking, Inflation, Budgets, Great Depression, Great Depression Causes, or New Deal.) Use the related quiz, FYI features, and activities to reinforce the concepts.

Extension Activity:

Browse the lesson plans and activities provided by the Federal Reserve Education website. You might also want to explore the other social studies game in GameUp.