Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Answering Questions About The National Debt

Source: The Guardian

One of our guiding questions in our history curriculum this year is, “How do economies affect the rise and fall of empires?” So in a room full of middle schoolers learning about the fall of the Roman Empire and its trouble funding its expenses, questions about the United States government defaulting on its debt were bound to come up in the class discussion.

We have to admit that our push to include current events on a regular basis has made our learners aware of the government shutdown, as well as the impending crisis looming over the country regarding the debt ceiling. While the United States is not Ancient Rome, the students were quick to see some comparisons in not being able to make payments on the government’s expenses.

Since financial literacy is also an integral part of our curriculum, we continually remind our students that you need to have the money to buy the things you want. Indeed, when they play The Stock Market Game, many do not touch their margins so as not to go into debt.

To help them better understand just how much money the government owes, we showed them this clear and concise infographic from NPR. This visual graph, called a tree map, made it easy for the students to see the breakdown of the $16.8 trillion debt for foreign and domestic expenses.

Source: NPR
For other posts on current events and financial issues, please take a look at:

3 comments:

  1. The kids and youngsters really do have an inquisitive mind. And it would be really difficult not to see these similarities. It's good you are able to teach them the virtues of not going into debt.

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