Show Me the Money: Economics in American History

Please also refer to the individual teaching guides for each tour in this module.

Subject Matter
Instructional Plan
Goals and Objectives
Assessment and Evaluation
Additional Information (resources for learning and teaching about Economics)


The module, Show Me the Money: Economics in American History will guide fourth- and fifth-grade Chicago Public School students through American History through a focus on topics related to Economics.


Economics, the analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods is central to understanding how we make choices as individual consumers. Economics is significant in understanding the origins of the United States, and how this country became a world power. Finally, Economics is important to understanding our relationship to other nations, both as consumers of imported products and as a country that makes decisions about trade agreements.


This module is designed for fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Chicago Public Schools. It could also be used by private school students or any other young people (or adults) interested in the early history of Chicago.

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Reading at a 4th grade level

Use of Internet browsers

Use of a mouse

Subject Matter

The subject matter of this module will include:

  • Producers and consumers.
  • Important people, inventions, and events in American history related to Economics.
  • Labor history, including slave labor, child labor, labor unions, and reforms.
  • The role economics has played in the development of the United States as a world power.
  • The effect of war on the economy.


Internet-linked computer with browser (version 4.0 recommended) for each student or group of students.

Journal (optional)

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Instructional Plan

Teachers typically seat two students together at a computer. Students take turns reading the tour to each other and work together to answer online journal questions. Often teachers pair a strong reader with a student who needs help reading to foster peer guidance.

Teachers may wish to use a projector to help students get started. The teacher (or technical coordinator) can show students how to navigate, enlarge pictures, and use the encyclopedia. After reading a few pages together, teachers then allow students (paired or single) to read independently.

Goals and Objectives

The foci of this module are State Goals 1, 2, 3, 5 (Language Arts) and 15, 16, 17 (Social Science). Some tours in this module include standards in Math and Science. Refer to each tour's teaching guide for a standards chart that includes specific Chicago Academic Statements and Curriculum Framework statements.

For detailed information on the standards, visit the Chicago Public Schools website.

Assessment and Evaluation

Each tour has an online journalling function which is the primary form of assessment in the tours. The journal is printable.

Tours may include learning-based interactive activities and other forms of self-testing for the student.

Refer to teaching guides for individual tours for quiz and essay questions.

Refer to the Additional Activities section in individual tours for project ideas that could be used for assessment.

Additional Information

Resources for children's literature

An Economics glossary

At-a-glance History of Money

Evidence of student learning in Economics, based on A Framework for Teaching Basic Concepts, National Council on Economic Education, 1995.

Economics Resources by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Requires Adobe Acrobat - click here to download.)

History of Colonial Money
Historical Beginnings
The Panic of 1907
Closed for the Holiday: The Bank Holiday of 1933

Colonial Economic Growth - in-depth outline of the economic history of this period.

Course materials on American Economic History from the State University of West Georgia - see list of lectures for specific topics.

The Federal Reserve Bank - good resource to get acquainted with banking history.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago - Economic education resources, including lesson plans.

Inflation calculator

U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Excellent resource for researching jobs.

Chicago WebDocent is a collaboration of

Adler Planetarium

The Field Museum

The Newberry Library

Chicago Historical Society

Museum of Science and Industry

DuSable Museum

The Oriental Institute

Chicago Public Schools/University of ChicagoInternet Project

This page last modified by
Julia Borst Brazas on October 4, 2002