CIVIC

Inside the Economy Museum Sets Students Up for Financial Success

Parents of Missouri high schoolers know the drill: In order to graduate, students need 0.5 credits in the field of Personal Finance. Whether your student is attempting to test out of the course or is taking a Personal Finance class, Downtown’s Inside the Economy Museum has supplementary resources to help.

“The Inside the Economy Museum is a hands-on museum that teaches visitors about the economy and their role in it through high-tech exhibits and videos,” says Museum Director Tom Shepherd. Located at the intersection of North Broadway Street and Locust Street, the museum is part of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (St. Louis Fed). “The museum is open to walk-in visitors as well as to groups of all ages. Groups also have the opportunity to sign up for classroom programs and we offer student guides for middle school and high school students.”

Exhibits at the Inside the Economy Museum range from topics such as “How People Make Decisions,” which focuses on concepts like scarcity and capital, to “How People Interact,” with an emphasis on markets and trade. Interactive student group programs are available to emphasize these themes.

While it is important to note the museum does not offer a course for students looking to fulfill the Personal Finance requirement, the resources may serve as a beneficial learning tool and an updated syllabus featuring the 2017 state-wide changes is available for any personal finance teacher in Missouri. A St. Louis Fed economic education team member served on the revision committee, explains Assistant Vice President Economic Education Officer Mary Suiter, and a full webinar on the topic is available on the organization’s website.

Looking to help your student one-on-one? “The classroom programs are only available to groups; however, these programs and hundreds of others are also available through Econ Lowdown, the Bank’s online economics and personal finance education resources website,” explains Shepherd.

This also includes a full, free teacher portal with features like assigning and tracking student work, as well as ample resources available to the public. “The public Econ Lowdown site offers more than 400 lesson plans, podcasts, videos, readings, PowerPoint slides and SMARTboard activities that can be used in Pre-K through college classrooms to teach economics and personal finance content,” elaborates Suiter. “In both 2016 and 2017, we had more than 1 million student enrollments through the teacher portal. These enrollments were from throughout the United States.”