Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Don't Save It For Later - Financial Literacy Through Infographics & Animations

Source: and Column Five

Financial literacy is about much more than balancing one's (online) checkbook. Financial literacy represents a cross-curricular mindset, a sophisticated understanding of how money, media, and messaging unite in the public sphere.

Source: and Column Five
Courses in economics or life planning typically target high school students in order to instill values of earning and saving. These are noble and much-needed goals. Authentic financial instruction, however, should begin much earlier, as children first become aware of sales taxes on their lollipops and marquee ads during the Superbowl. True financial literacy embodies the cross-section between business and consumerism, entrepreneurship and federalism, investing and gambling.

The videos and infographics below provide excellent ways to introduce financial literacy at the elementary and middle school levels. These topics can be woven into any course of study, from mathematics to social studies. They are great ways to kick off a morning's discussion or to enrich students who always seem to finish their work early.

The TED-Ed video, "What Gives A Dollar Bill Its Value?," from educator Doug Levinson and animator Qa'ed Mai, offers a superb overview of how America's currency functions. Specifically, it traces the value of paper tender in its transition from gold-based notes to faith-based cash.

This TED-Ed animated cartoon is a prime companion to the History Channel's infographic about "The Story Of Money." Produced in partnership with Column Five, this detailed visual narrative parades a fascinating series of monetary facts, from the legend of the first penny to the largest bill in human record.

As young students plan their futures, they can appreciate the sobering facts about saving for college via the NBC News video, "How Bad Is The Student Debt Crisis?" Part of its winning Show Me series, NBC explains the crushing costs of tuitions, fees, and textbooks as impediments to twenty-something progress.

Finally, as many teens play variations on the Stock Market Game in their math and social studies classes, the real truth about modern equity emerges in the infographic, "How High Frequency Trading Works." Also designed by NBC News, this illustration illuminates how hyper-speed data processors rig high-volume trading to favor computational efficiency. The casual investor is no longer a factor in moving the market.

Source: NBC News

For other ideas about teaching financial literacy to younger learners, we recommend:


  1. Would you post a link to the TED-Ed animation that you mention as a "prime companion to the History Channel's infographic "The Story of Money"? The link provided does not go to a specific animation, but to TED-Ed.

    1. Hi, we were referring to the TED-Ed video (embedded above) about the value of the dollar bill:

      Another TED-Ed clip, though, talks about "A Brief History Of Money." It's not animated, but it's informative:


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