Economic Connections

Educational services promoting economic and personal finance literacy



Web Links

General Economics

Household Choice

Business Choice

Role of Government

Economic Systems

International Trade

Sample Workshops

Grades K-5

Grades 6-12

And . . .

 Literature and Music

 Michigan History

 U.S. History





Web Links: Role of Government


STATE STANDARD: How government decisions on taxation, spending, public goods, and regulation impact what is produced, how it is produced, and who receives the benefits of production.


Economic Development

economic indicators

programs/policies (including antitrust, consumer, and labor policy)



Ben's Guide to Government for Kids. Learning tools for K-12 students, parents, and teachers organized by grade level appropriateness that will teach how our government works, and much more.


CongressLink. Information about the U.S. Congress -- how it works, its members and leaders, and the public policies it produces.  Lesson plans and a variety of classroom aids are also available.


Federal Programs. The Federal Citizen Information Center's page of links to publications concerning federal government benefits and protections. 


Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Links to the regional banks, consumer information, education materials and more. Background information on a comprehensive list of legal topics with links to articles and other web sites. A sampling of topics includes credit, identity theft, tenant rights, pensions, and copyrights. The federal government's search engine for federal information.


FirstGov for Kids.  The federal government’s portal to federal web sites for kids.


Government WWW Servers. An alphabetical listing of web sites for federal government agencies. Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.


How Our Laws Are Made. The Library of Congress tells how bills become laws.


Kids Around Town.  A model for students to identify, research and take action on a public issue.


Michigan Kids! You.Gov.  Learn about voting and how a bill becomes a law in Michigan.


State Regulators.  The Federal Consumer Information Center offers a collection of directories providing contact information for state regulatory and consumer protection offices.


U.S. Federal Agency Directories. Links to federal agencies organized alphabetically and by branch: Judicial, legislative, etc.  Source: Louisiana State University Library.


Virtual Field Trips.  Take a virtual tour of a community and learn about public goods and services at a park, library and city hall.


What’s My Job?  Have elementary students identify the providers of public goods and services. Source: HUD


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Economic Development



Cities of Today, Cities of Tomorrow.  A 6-week interdisciplinary curriculum created by the UN for grades 5 and up who study their own community and those of others then create an "Ideal City”. Among the objectives are learning about infrastructure and economics, studying causes and consequences of urban growth, and exploring solutions for environmental, social and economic problems.


Help the Homeless. A simple explanation of homeless people and how elementary students can help them. Source: HUD


Making a Meal of It. Activities with photos for elementary students that help connect the food we eat with others around the world, particularly in economically developing countries. Why some people are hungry and what young people can do about it is also addressed. Source: Oxfam Get the latest news on major disasters and this organization’s efforts to promote economic development and free trade.


Virtual Developing Country.  Take a series of virtual field trips throughout Zambia visiting a number of places and people. At each stop learn about the development issues and ideas.


See also the Background on Countries section of this site.


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Economic Indicators



Beige Book. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector and is published eight times per year. 


Briefing Room: Economic Statistics. Data on production, income, wealth, prices, credit, interest rates, employment, unemployment, earnings, transportation and trade.


Briefing Room: Social Statistics.  Data and charts concerning home ownership, poverty, crime, education and health.


Bureau of Economic Analysis. National, international and regional economic data including GDP and personal income statistics.


Consumer Price Index. Answers to frequently asked questions about the CPI from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economic forecasts, reports, a dictionary of economic terms, financial calculators, web links to other economic sites, and more. A calendar tells when economic news releases will occur.


EconEd Data Links.  The National Council on Economic Education brings together economic statistics and links to statistics from a variety of sources.  Explanations are offered on how much of the information is calculated.  Access to the daily releases of key economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  International economic data from The Economist magazine.


Econ Dash. Raw economic data is compared over time in an effort to help users understand what the numbers mean and put them in perspective.


Fed Stats. The federal government’s site for national, state and local statistics organized A to Z from more than 70 federal agencies.


FRED – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Statistics and links to other sources of statistics concerning income, interest rates, inflation and much more.


Global Business Cycle Indicators. From the Conference Board, the official source of the U.S. leading index plus general information about the economy and cyclical indicators.


Global Grocery List Project. Gather prices on a set of grocery prices and compare your results with those in other parts of the nation or the world.  Data is also available from previous years of this ongoing project.

How Much Is That Worth Today?  Compare the purchasing power of money in the United States from 1665 to any other year including the present.

How to Measure the Shrinking Value of the Dollar. A kid-friendly explanation of the Consumer Price Index with a table of prices from 1913 to today.


Inflation Calculator. Fill in the sections of the form to adjust a given amount of money for inflation, from 1800 to 1994.


Retail Prices of Selected Foods in U.S. Cities, 1890–1970. FactMonster lets you compare the price of staples such as flour, bread, milk, coffee and sugar.


What Is a Dollar Worth? A CPI Calculator. What would an item or service in today's dollars be worth in future dollars? Find the answer using the consumer price index and this on-line calculator. A chart of inflation rates since 1913 is also provided.


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The American Promise. This site is a supplement to the videos and teaching guide produced for a PBS series created to help K-12 teachers bring democracy to life in their classrooms. Several of the lesson ideas have an economic connection. The web site of an organization attempting to hold corporations accountable on a broad range of public policy issues including biotechnology, money and politics, sweatshops tobacco and trade agreements. A nifty set of questions and brief answers explain copyrights and public domain as it applies to common student uses of music and research.


The Index of Economic Freedom.  An assessment of economic freedom for countries throughout the world provided by the Heritage Foundation - a think tank - whose mission is to promote free enterprise and other “conservative” values.


PBS Economy: Background Reports. An archive of scripts from PBS NewsHour that examine economic issues and public policy. The official web site for  the Social Security Administration.  Don;’t miss the history page with its collections of history-related materials including oral histories, a timeline, puzzles, and games.


U.S. Dept. of State International Information Programs.  A site designed to give a view of the U.S. to foreigners but with lots of information of interest to citizens organized by issues and regions of the world.


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Information on patents in United States and other countries.


U.S. PopClock. Current and historical figures on U.S. population.


World Bank. Current events and country project information. Assessment of issues such as transfer of government industry in some nations to private entities and changes with respect to the environment, women and children.




Antitrust Case Filings. Electronic versions of selected documents filed by the U.S. Antitrust Division since December 1994.


Antitrust Enforcement and the Consumer. An explanation of antitrust protections from the Department of Justice in a question and answer format.


Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Monopoly.  An overview Standard Oil v. United States with a relatively simple explanation of the events that lead to antitrust legislation and the legal suit.  Links are provided to supplemental information including the famous Ida Tarbell articles for McClure’s Magazine. Students are asked to consider whether they would have made the same court decision.


Promoting Competition: Protecting Consumers. A plain English guide to antitrust law from the Federal Trade Commission.


United States vs. Microsoft. A look at the 1999 federal decision that Microsoft, the world's biggest software company, is a monopoly. Students are asked to analyze five possible remedies.




Facts about FDA Investigators. Kids read about what FDA Investigators do then help Mac & Molly inspect a warehouse.


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Find out which bank accounts are insured and information on the laws protecting the privacy personal financial information.


FDIC: Learning Bank. A young person’s guide to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation including what the agency does and why it was created.


 Trade Measurement History.  The importance of accurate measures to trade. Don’t miss the links in the sidebar that provide details on measuring weight, volume, length, etc.




An Overview of Federal Child Labor Laws. The Child Labor Coalition summarizes federal protections and phone numbers for state labor departments.


Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops From the Smithsonian Institution, a look at sweatshops in the U.S. since 1820. This exhibition places the current debate on sweatshops in the garment industry in a historical context and explores the complex factors that contribute to their existence today.


British History 1700-1900: Child Labour. The life of young workers in British factories, efforts for reform, and some disturbing facts concerning the children’s ages, health and mortality. Suggestions for teaching are also provided.


Child Labor Coalition. Information on child labor abuses in the U.S. and throughout the world. The site offers an overview of existing laws as well as updates on campaigns to protect working minors.


Child Labor in America 1908-1912.  Lewis Hine photos of children’s lives especially at work.


The Clothes Line. A series of photos and activities designed to show the production of cotton and clothing in India.  International trade and the industry’s labor practices are also addressed. Source: Oxfam.


Coop America’s Background information on why sweatshops exist, news on products and companies accused of using sweatshop and child labor, what individuals can do to make a difference, and links to related sites on this issue.


Driving on the Job: New Law For Teen Workers. The Child Labor Coalition provides a summary of the federal law that protects teens who drive as part of their job.


Equal Pay Act of 1963. Text of the law that prohibits gender-based wage differentials between men and women employed in the same establishment who perform jobs requiring equal effort, skill, and responsibility.  Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


The Fair Labor Standards Act. A summary of the federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting U.S. workers. Information on proposed rules is also provided. Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor.


Fields of Hope.  Pictures and text tell the story of child labor in agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. Don’t miss the free downloadable teacher guide.


Minimum Wage Laws. Information and links to information on federal and state minimum wage laws from the U.S. Department of Labor. Click here for a chart and table showing the federal minimum wage since 1938 adjusted for inflation.


Mr. Coal's Story.  A story with photos of life in the coal mines told by the National Child Labor Committee to persuade Americans to support the regulation and elimination of child labor.


Occupational Safety. Background and history of OSHA, the federal agency responsible for protecting worker health and safety. Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor.


The Story of My Cotton Dress. An article in a 1914 issue of the Child Labor Bulletin offers a plea to end child labor in the textile and garment industries.


Sweatshop Timeline.  Trace the history of workers in the garment history and labor protections beginning in 1900.  Part of a story by MSNBC Dateline in which a female producer wore a hidden camera and kept a journal of what she found during an 8-month undercover investigation to explore the working conditions of garment factories.


Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants. A tool to help teen restaurant employees stay safe and healthy with descriptions of common hazards and potential safety solutions.


Voices from the Dustbowl.  Audio recordings, photographs, and other materials from the Library of Congress designed to help us better understand migrant work camps during the Great Depression and after.


Working Safely: Advice for Teens. Statistics and tips from the American Academy of Family Physicians. Limits on work hours are also provided. Resources for teens, parents and educators on workplace safety and the rights of young workers. Developed for California but links direct the user to laws in other states.


Youth Rules! The U.S. Department of Labor explains what hours and jobs teens can work. There is also advice on preventing workplace injuries.  Special page for teens, parents, educators and employers.


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Bureau of Public Debt.  The division of U.S. Treasury Department provides a status report and historical perspective on the nation’s debt plus information on the government securities used to finance the debt.


Budget of the U.S. Government. A collection of documents from the Office of Management and Budget that provide information on the current and past federal budgets. 


Budget Explorer: Where Does Your Money Go? Let students estimate the percentage of the federal budget spent on different items then examine the real numbers. Don’t miss the questions page, which suggests links for more information and educational materials on the topic.


Internal Revenue Service.  The place to start when seeking information on federal taxes. Download and print tax forms and publications.


Look Who’s Footing the Bill?  A sample web quest that challenges students to learn more about the federal debt and make recommendations to policymakers.


National Budget Simulation. An on-line simulation that asks the user to cut the 1995 budget deficit in order to achieve a balanced budget.


Understanding Taxes. The IRS has posted its comprehensive tax education curriculum online.  In addition to lesson plans and background information, the site has a student area where users have access to online activities, tutorials, tax simulations, puzzles, games, virtual field trips and more.  Modules include the hows and whys of taxes, the history of taxation in the U.S., fairness, and the impact of taxes.