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Money Education for 10th Graders

Here are the financial principles and money lesson plans for 10th grade students that you should be teaching!


As a teacher or homeschooler of 10th-grade students, you know how essential a high-quality money education can be for their future. These young adults are speeding through high school and will be off to college or the workforce before they know it. This grade is pivotal for learning those crucial financial habits that will carry them far in life, and understanding what to teach them makes all the difference. The main topics they learn in 10th-grade overlap with other grades’ economic standards, but target this age group. These concepts include the foundations of economics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, global economics, and personal finance. Let’s dig into the specific concepts 10th-graders should learn within these topics, how you can approach teaching them, and lesson plans that can add immediate value to your money education instruction.

National Standards for Personal Finance Education

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Foundations of Economics

By developing a solid base for your kids’ economic futures, you can help them succeed. As you teach the foundations of economics, you can explain it is the application of basic financial concepts and decision-making skills. You can show them how property rights, profit motive, consumer sovereignty, competition, the role of the government, and rational self-interest all impact economics and their money. There are many sub-topics to cover with your students, such as scarcity and the allocation of goods and services. You can also go over opportunity costs, trade-offs, mixed-market economy characteristics, economics in current events, and data analysis using charts and graphs.

There are plenty of approaches to teaching the foundations of economics to your 10th-grade students. You can link their connections to their personal experience and lives using hands-on lessons and research methods. For example, you can:

  • Have your students report on current events from an economic perspective. Many things going on in the world today have a financial impact on countries, businesses, and individuals, and you can show them how these events impact everyone to some degree. Have them make posters and complete outlines describing their current event and then have them present to the class, building public speaking and comprehension skills.
  • Many of your students may want to be entrepreneurs, and you can give them a chance to see how to accomplish it by showing them the path. They can research how to turn ideas into products, how to distribute those goods or services, and how to profit from them. They can create business plans and develop pitches to sell their ideas to investors while you explain that these steps are part of an entrepreneur’s approach.
10th Grade Lesson Plan #1

Foundations of Economics

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You can tell your 10th-graders that microeconomics looks at the advantages and drawbacks of economic decisions made by individuals, government policies, and choices in markets and industries. Teachers can come at this topic from many angles, including the interdependence of individuals and businesses. You can go over concepts like trade, where both parties expect to see some form of profit from the exchange, and review the circular flow of economic activity to show how everything comes around in economies. Banking, financial institutions, and securities markets are excellent topics to teach in this grade, as is the role of government and the rule of law to keep markets fair and even. You can get into how markets function, discussing supply and demand, price ceilings and floors and their impact, monopolies, and the effects of different taxes on various income groups.

When you jump into teaching microeconomics, you will notice many resources to help you. It is a vast subject, and you can meet student learning needs in many ways, depending on how you approach it. Some activities to focus your instruction on include:

  • Have your learners create a diagram showing the interrelationship of consumers and businesses. They can cover the circular flow model of economic activity, getting into ideas like advertising, market dynamics, shipping, and production.
  • Students can create PowerPoints or documents describing the role of government in our economy. They can explain how government spending significantly influences national finances, national defense, private and public property rights, environmental concerns and their impact on money, and market regulations. They can talk about how governments weigh costs and benefits before implementing and enforcing policies.
10th Grade Lesson Plan #2



Part of the 10th-grade curriculum in economics and money management focuses on macroeconomics. This concept has to do with how decisions affect the economy as a whole, and you can break it down into smaller parts for your students’ comprehension. You can teach them about inflation and its impact on prices and consumer spending, unemployment rates and why they matter, and how gross domestic product data is used to shape economic policies. You can detail the overt and less obvious impacts of unemployment on individuals, households, and businesses, showing the central role that factor has on society. Teachers can highlight how the Federal Reserve Bank is a significant player in the economy, from setting interest rates to supervising financial services and monetary policies.

Educators can choose which sub-topics to focus on with this topic, and you can tailor your instruction to your students. Many activities reinforce what they learn with research-based methods and creative synthesis of information. You can find engaging resources to teach macroeconomics, with things like:

  • Research careers that students may wish to pursue in the future. Once they find some options, you can direct them to look at their choice regarding the standard of living. Explain that increasing specialization, investing in training and education, and using new technology can move people forward in their careers and improve their standard of living.
  • Have them create charts and graphs showing the connection between supply and demand. They can focus on an industry that interests them, looking at historical data and current market conditions to understand the correlation between the two. To further understanding, they can research how government policies and regulations affect these fluctuations in supply and demand, so they see the connection between the government, industries, and individuals.
10th Grade Lesson Plan #3


Global Economics

You can explain that today, more than ever, economics is a global phenomenon. Different economic systems exist, and interactions and development vary as a result. You can teach 10th-graders that these systems have similarities and differences, including roles of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Students will also notice characteristics specific to mixed-market economies, like the United States economy, such as private ownership, profit motive, consumer sovereignty, competition, and government regulation. Educators can also cover topics like international trade, the law of comparative advantage, the results of protectionism (especially regarding tariffs and quotas), and the notion of balance of trade.

Global economics is the future, and kids can learn it in many different ways. Some of the methods to expand and deepen their understanding of this topic are:

  • Have students go into depth between developed and developing nations. They can compare and contrast several countries, looking at how the various costs of production impact individual nations and their economic outputs. When they finish researching, they can create detailed maps that show how global trade connects countries with unique needs, advantages, and drawbacks.
  • Look into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). You can show the students that this trade agreement was one of the most significant pacts to affect the U.S. and its trading partners. Then, have the students go into detail about why. They can create online presentations or posters to show the agreement’s effect on various nations.
10th Grade Lesson Plan #4

Global Economics

Personal Finance

The topic of personal finance is crucial for 10th-graders, as they can bring in everything they learned about economic factors and connect it to their lives. You can demonstrate that the daily decisions they make with money will impact both short-term and long-term finances. You can cover how career choices, education, and raising a family influence how much money they will make and how advertising directly and subtly influences their buying choices. Teachers can go over the concept of credit and why properly managing it is essential. These students will also benefit from learning about risk, return, and liquidity issues with savings accounts and investment vehicles. As kids become savvier with their finances, they will want to know more about investment choices, and it is a good idea for teachers to discuss stocks, bonds, and mutual funds with their class.

Personal finance is fun for 10th-grade students - because it is about them. You can personalize this financial unit for them by:

  • Have students create a virtual stock portfolio. Make sure they give reasons why they purchased the stocks they did, whether it was an attractive share price, P/E ratio, revenue, a change in management, or a new product that they think will drive its price up.
  • Research advertising techniques that companies use to attract customers. Have kids look at famous ads or new commercials and see which emotions they play off, and if these techniques are effective.
10th Grade Lesson Plan #5

Personal Finance

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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: May 15, 2024