While I was going through my teacher prep and later grad work, I had very little economics training. My understanding of econ is still very limited. And when I talk with other social studies teachers, I hear similar stories.

But national and state standards are asking us to address complex economic concepts, many of which we have little knowledge. So what to do? Look online!
The best place to start is the National Council for Economic Education web site. The NCEE site has tons of wonderful resources, teaching materials and lesson plans. One of their features is a site titled EconEdLink with over 500 free lesson plans grade 3-12.

NCEE also has tons of very affordable curricula and materials. One of my favorites is the Understanding Economics in US History. It uses a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. economic history to your high school students.

Your students solve intriguing historical mysteries such as:

  • Why did the 13 American colonies prosper, when they had little to offer economically?
  • Is education beyond high school worth the cost?
  • Why did the economy grow during the 1920s, but falter during the 1930s?
  • Did the New Deal help, or hurt, economic recovery?
  • Why did the post-World War II years bring unprecedented prosperity and expansion to the American middle class?

NCEE has several programs that focus on personal finance that are very helpful. Financial Fitness for Life is a new multifaceted, comprehensive economic and financial literacy program for grades K-12.
For you Kansas teachers, check out the Kansas Council for Economic Education. The KCEE has stuff aligned specifically for Kansas kids. Not from Kansas? The NCEE has a directory of affiliated councils and groups from around the country.

A great site with tons of aligned lessons is the Economic Education Web created and maintained by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. All lessons here download in PDF format with lots of resources attached.

Another useful site is the Foundation for Teaching Economics. The foundation offers training, resources and lesson plans.

One final place you might want to try out is the lesson plan page created by the people at McREL in Denver. They have close to a hundred econ lessons and activities arranged by concept and theme. Very helpful!

Whatever you use, have fun!