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Money Education for 11th Graders

Here are the financial principles and money lesson plans for 11th grade students that you should be teaching!


As students enter 11th grade, they begin to think of graduation and entering the “real world.” A solid financial education is vital for these young adults. Knowing specifically what to teach them makes all the difference and helps prepare them for a bright financial future. As students move through high school, standards become more rigorous, and you will see more advanced economic principles and real-life data analysis in this grade. The main topics teachers cover in this grade are entrepreneurship, microeconomics, macroeconomics, global economics, and personal finance. Junior year is an exciting and complex grade, and teachers can help elevate their students to new levels by using these topic overviews and engaging lesson plans.

National Standards for Personal Finance Education

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Foundations of Economics: Entrepreneurship

As kids try to grasp the more challenging concepts of economics, it is more and more important to lay out the foundation. You will cover scarcity, looking at resource limitations and how human desires affect choices. Students learn about production factors, including technology, capital, and natural resources, with a focus on entrepreneurship. The idea of opportunity cost is analyzed in 11th grade, giving students the concept of efficiently using their time and resources. They will study successful entrepreneurs, looking at how they made it and similar characteristics between them. A major skill to focus on is identifying problems and finding solutions. They also learn about real-life aspects of entrepreneurship, such as the importance of having insurance, such as life and disability. They will also determine why many entrepreneurs donate money to causes they believe in and see the steps to take to be successful.

To teach the foundations of economics, you will want to bridge theory with real-life applications. Some ways you can do this are:

  • Look at current events through the lens of economics. Use newspapers, magazines, websites, and online resources to see how these economic factors come into play in reality.
  • Using charts, graphs, and company data, analyze how people display financial information. Dive into company reports, profit-loss statements, and balance sheets to determine which data matters.
  • Find examples of mixed-market economy characteristics, such as competition within industries, property rights issues using news articles, and the role of the government (the Federal Reserve, policies, etc.) to show students how they work in society.
  • Have students make diagrams or flow charts to demonstrate an understanding of essential economic foundations. For example, trace an entrepreneur’s journey from idea to product distribution.
11th Grade Lesson Plan #1

Foundations of Economics: Entrepreneurship

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Supply and Demand

Students should learn about microeconomics in 11th grade, giving them a close look at how different entities are interconnected. They will study banking, trade, money, and exchange to understand the economic cycle better, with an emphasis on supply and demand. You can emphasize how profits drive activity, even with the chance of failure, leading to entrepreneurship. Teachers can focus on how markets work, including looking at behaviors and biases, and see how diversification and unemotional trading can benefit them. They can also deliver instruction on how government policies impact the economy of a place, including taxes, spending, and market regulation.

This topic is varied and multi-layered, and there are many ways to tackle it. Teachers can focus on hands-on activities, such as:

  • Create an illustrated glossary of key terms. Understanding microeconomics means comprehending essential vocabulary, and students will deepen their understanding of terms with these interactive glossaries.
  • Students can examine supply-demand graphs of businesses in their local community. Have them look at the relationship between the supply and demand of different goods and services.
  • There are ways to meet the needs of all students, including tactile and kinesthetic learners, through games and role play relating to microeconomic theories. They can bring otherwise intangible ideas to life, working in pairs or groups, making sure that these concepts stick.
  • You can create Kahoot trivia games and other interactive tools to assess student understanding of this topic.
11th Grade Lesson Plan #2

Supply and Demand

Government Policy

As the 11th grade continues, teachers address the topic of macroeconomics through the lens of government policy, GDP, and regulations. You will guide students through understanding economic impacts on society, including unemployment, inflation, deflation, economic growth, and fiscal policy. You will go over interest rates, business cycles, and long-term economic growth. By looking at the big picture – GDPs, economic booms and busts, and government policies – students can get a good grasp of economies as a whole and how central banks respond. The variables that lead to prices people will pay, different types of taxes, and international policies are things 11th-graders will learn.

You can find many resources to reinforce macroeconomic concepts. Some of these activities have students:

  • Analyze the country’s GDP before, during, and after the 2007-2009 recession. Look at trends and patterns, creating graphs and charts with explanations that show their comprehension of macroeconomic factors.
  • Compare periods of inflation from historically low and high periods, determining the various factors that affected levels.
  • Conduct studies on the link between specific monetary policies, inflation, and unemployment. Look into times of low and high unemployment, and come to conclusions as to which factors were in play in the economy.
  • Research how mortgage interest rates change during economic booms and downturns, explaining why these numbers fluctuate and how the Federal Reserve decides on related actions.
  • See how taxes play a critical role in economies, by studying various types of taxes and what services they fund in society.
11th Grade Lesson Plan #3

Government Policy

Global Economic Systems

In the topic of global economics, students should know the various systems that economies around the world use. You cover the different approaches, comparing and contrasting market, command, and mixed economic systems, explaining to students that each type has unique methods of production, distribution, and consumption of products. You can highlight the pros and cons of each method, explaining that different countries and government styles use resources and approaches that best fit their location. You describe public and private property and how it fits into the scheme of these economies. Another primary focus to go over with students is international trade. You can touch on how people and countries benefit from trade, the impact of protectionism and tariffs, and how exchange rates play into the overall structure. You can also discuss various trade agreements, who they benefit the most, and who does not prosper from them. The focus comes back to the American mixed market economy, where teachers can go over things like federal and state laws, policies, regulations, and consumer protection agencies. They also see how important having a system is, not only at a national level, but also for personal finance.

Understanding how the global economy works will help your 11th-graders prepare for the future. In today’s super-connected world, students can communicate with others far away with a few clicks. You can teach these critical concepts through:

  • Have students create research reports on specific countries, including trading partners, primary exports and imports, specialization, and regional influence on their trade.
  • Show students a specific trade agreement (e.g., NAFTA) and how it operates, benefits, and connects countries.
  • Create graphs showing the different costs of production between developed and developing nations.
  • Learners write persuasive essays about which economic system is ideal. For example, suppose students choose a mixed-market economy like the U.S. In that case, they can highlight consumer sovereignty, fair competition, government regulation, and profit motives as advantages or drawbacks compared to other systems.
  • Develop ideal systems of money management, weighing the protection that the government can provide with personal freedoms and rights.
11th Grade Lesson Plan #4

Global Economic Systems

Loans and Credit

While much of 11th-grade money education revolves around formal economic theory and case studies, your students will get value from studying aspects that apply to their own lives. You will teach them how to make informed decisions to improve their quality of life and money management. By the end of the year, students understand that these choices affect their position as consumers, investors, and productive members of society. They will see how post-secondary education and specialization can impact their future career, salary, and work-life balance. Loans are a major consideration for financial success, and they need to know how to manage them and see which terms are best for them. You go over budgets, both long-term and shorter periods, and how to plan for the best possible outcomes in students’ investments and savings. Learners will better understand credit as a tool and how it can be a valuable addition to their financial success. You can also cover the different types of savings vehicles and which versions are ideal for specific times of their lives.

This is the chance for 11th-graders to convert their hard-earned knowledge of economic foundations into working to their advantage in life. Some activities you can have students do:

  • Research sample credit reports, analyze what users could do to bring their scores up, and explain what an excellent credit score can do for them. They can describe how higher scores lead to lower interest rates, increased credit limits, and better mortgage terms.
  • 11th-graders are hyper-focused on their immediate futures, and many want to bring in income right after school ends. Create a budget with them, using statistics and data from various sources, to see what kind of job they may want and what kind of goods and services they can afford. They should include possible loan repayments and credit card payments.
  • Learners can research different types of credit. They can also look into alternative financial services, debt relief programs, and bankruptcy, in case of worst-case scenarios.
  • Look into car purchases to see which types of vehicles they can realistically afford based on the career choice they want to pursue. They can factor in down payments, varying interest rates on auto loans, advantages of leasing vs. buying, and choosing between purchasing new or used cars, laying out the pros and cons of each.
11th Grade Lesson Plan #5

Loans and Credit

More Resources for 11th Grade Teachers

About the Author

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is a National Board Certified teacher with over two decades of experience in the classroom. He loves working with students of all ages in many subjects, but particularly in practical areas like money education, to help kids achieve their goals. When he is not teaching or writing about financial literacy, you can find him surfing, hiking, skiing, or traveling to new places.

Last updated on: July 8, 2024