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Instructional Unit Samples - Personal Financial Literacy


I am very proud to present the teacher-authored instructional unit samples in personal financial literacy. Each of these units represents the work of a team of Colorado educators to translate one curriculum overview sample into a full instructional unit with learning experiences, teacher and student resources, assessment ideas, and differentiation options. To learn more about the unit development process and the unique aspects of the personal financial literacy units, please consider reviewing the instructional unit process guide.

Each of the units posted here was authored by a team of Colorado educators. As examples, they are intended to provide support (or conversation/creation starting points) for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students.

A special thank you to Great West Financial for the generous grant that funded the Personal Financial Literacy instructional units Great West Financial Logo

High School

Algebra II Unit Title: Logarithmic Log Jams (Lake County School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit focuses on the exponential functions that are embedded in our everyday financial lives. Students explore credit card debt, interest rates, and the time it takes for investments to double in value. As they explore these topics, they are motivated to solve exponential equations, necessitating the introduction of logarithms. The students become fluent in rewriting expressions using logarithms and in solving for unknown variables in the exponent using logarithms. In addition, the students explore continuously compounded interest and discover one of the most important numbers in mathematics, e.


Integrated Math 2 Unit Title: Reproducing Bacterial Rabbits (Mesa County Valley School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit focuses on exponential functions embedded in our everyday financial lives.  Students explore credit cards, loans and savings accounts.  As they explore these topics, they are motivated to solve exponential equations and become fluent in interpreting exponential expressions by using the properties of exponents to rewrite expressions. Students are introduced to the concept of the mathematical constant e, through the context of continuously compounding interest.  Students also explore the attributes of classes of functions including their inverses, which introduce the concept of a logarithm.  Students will further explore classes of functions and the impact of multiplying or adding a constant in the next unit and the concept of logarithm is developed further in Integrated III.


Economics Unit Title: So, You Want to Be a Millionaire? (Brighton School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: The focus of this unit is on the creation of wealth and future prosperity.  Students will be introduced to concepts of financial planning, wealth and financial management and the protection of one’s wealth and financial prosperity.   The unit will culminate in the creation of a financial plan to work towards becoming a millionaire by investing $150,000.


8th Grade

Unit Title: Money Matters (Pueblo County School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit, the students will learn the basic concepts of credit and debt. Students will formulate strategies for making good financial decisions by investigating different types of credit, loans, and the costs associated with using credit. Students will also discover the importance of maintaining debt. The unit culminates with students demonstrating the practical application of personal financial literacy using the basic concepts of credit, debt and management skills to make educated financial decisions.


7th Grade

Unit Title: R U Proportional? (Ellicott School District and Lake County School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: Through participation in this unit, students will be able to develop a stronger understanding of personal financial literacy by applying ratios and percents to real-world situations. Learning experiences will include practice with calculations involving tax, tips, miles per gallon, rate of pay and simple interest. Concepts include proportional and non-proportional relationships, unit rate and unit cost, slope and the connection between y=kx and graphs of proportional relationships.


Unit Title: One of the Certain Things in Life... Taxes (Woodland Park School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit begins by connecting supply and demand to consumer choices. Then it continues into why and how citizens pay taxes and the types of taxes they pay as well as what personal finance responsibilities citizens have.  Finally, students will have an opportunity to apply their knowledge of income and taxes with a simulated tax paying experience. The unit culminates with students writing a dialogue between a tax preparation professional and a new taxpayer.


6th Grade

Unit Title: Show Me the Money (Ellicott School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit focuses on economic decision making and cost benefit analyses at the personal, national and global level. The unit begins with a focus on basic concepts of economics such as needs, wants, supply, demand and economic systems. Then, the unit will focus on the individual, where students will explore their aptitude for certain careers, the economic potential of those jobs (income), and where in the Colorado (or the US) the resources are available and accessible for those careers.  From there, the students will create goals, a budget and practice investing in the Stock Market. Once students have an understanding of basic economics and how their careers are economic choices, they will reflect on how their personal economic choices have an impact globally.  These learning experiences build towards their performance assessment where students will research and analyze data concerning the economics and demographics of Colorado towns in order to make a formal bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. 


3rd Grade

Unit Title: Pieces of the Puzzle-What Can You Learn from Each Other? (Cherry Creek School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: This unit includes and emphasis on Personal Financial Literacy. Students are introduced to the concept of the interdependent relationship between producers and consumers and their impact on the economic success of a community.  Students will explore how a local economy functions, including the roles of producers, consumers, businesses, and the local government.  In addition, students will identify ways in which taxes are collected and distributed within the community to provide infrastructure, goods, and services to support the people of the community.  Students will also identify different sources of income and the opportunities those provide when making choices about spending money (entrepreneurial, philanthropic, etc.). The unit culminates with students proposing a business plan that includes background information about the business, a marketing plan, and the impact it will have on the economic success of the community.


1st Grade

Unit Title: The Choices I Make (Denver Public Schools, Jefferson County School District, and Poudre School District)

Instructional Unit (Word or PDF) | Unit Storyboard

Unit Description: In this unit, students will be exploring choices (e.g., financial, occupational, personal) and how their choices positively and/or negatively affect self and others.  During their exploration, students will investigate various roles and responsibilities that are related to the community and how their roles and responsibilities are a result of the choices they make.  Students will also examine how responsible citizens contribute to their community.  The unit culminates with student groups identifying a need in the community and then creating a proposal designed to address the need.