Social Studies Standards – Personal Finance & Economics Strand

Introduction Slide Presentation

The Maine Learning Results for Social Studies includes four separate strands. The Personal Finance & Economics standard and all connected performance expectations specific to personal finance and economics can be found in this document:

Maine Learning Results for Social Social - Personal Finance & Economics (Revised 2019)

Resources to support teaching the Personal Finance & Economics strand:

In order to support teachers and districts in teaching about Personal Finance, the Maine Department of Education in partnership with the Maine Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, has created a financial education resource, titled the Maine Financial Literacy Framework & Resource Guide. This guide was created to assist Maine educators with understanding and implementing the personal finance and economics standards that are included in the Maine Learning Results. The goal of this tool is to help educators make connections to the Maine Learning Results, Jump$tart National Standards, and their own classroom curriculum.

In addition to identifying the standards and performance indicators that have connections to personal finance and economics at all grade bands, this comprehensive guide offers links to lesson plans, games, activities, and local Maine resources that educators can use to help their students meet the standards related to personal finance. The guide is periodically updated with new resources.

Maine Financial Literacy Framework & Resource Guide 

The Maine Department of Education also maintains a web page devoted to resources and organizations that support the teaching of financial literacy.

Research about teaching Personal Finance

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released research about the pedagogy of teaching about personal finance to our students.

"Where and when during childhood and adolescence do people acquire the foundations of financial capability? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) researched the childhood origins of financial capability and well-being to identify those roots and to find promising practices and strategies to support their development.

The personal finance pedagogy is a guide for educators to teach the development of youth personal finance skills. CFPB has identified teaching techniques and learning strategies to address the three building blocks that influence the development of lifelong personal finance decision-making skills.”

Resources from the CFPB include:


Additional Resources:

  • Council for Economic Education carries out its mission by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide.
    • EconEdLink is a source of classroom-tested, Internet-based economic and personal finance materials for K-12 teachers and their students.
    • Teaching the News puts economic lessons into real life perspective and also helps educate your students on how to critically engage with current events.
    • Gen I Revolution is a free, online personal finance game where students assume the role of a secret agent assigned to solve a variety of financial problems.
  • St. Louis Federal Reserve website has a wide variety of resources for educators who teach about economics including a K-12 Scope and Sequence document and a Making Personal Finance Decisions curriculum.
  • Foundation for Teaching Economics works to introduce young individuals to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues, and to promote excellence in economic education by helping teachers of economics become more effective educators. 
  • United States Mint offers free, complete lesson plans for grades K-12. Use coins as a jumping-off point to teach science, social studies, math, and more.

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides activities that can help you teach and nurture the building blocks of financial capability across the curriculum.

  • United States Securities & Exchange Commission provides a variety of services and tools to address the problems and questions you may face as an investor.

  • Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising and marketing practices. It brings cases, issues guidance to businesses, and educates consumers about their rights.

    • You Are Here: Walking through the mall can teach you about more than just the latest fashion trends; you also can learn how to be an informed consumer — especially at this mall.

    • Admongo aims to educate tweens (kids ages 8 to 12) about advertising so they can become more discerning consumers of information.

  • Next Gen Personal Finance is working to revolutionize the teaching of personal finance in all schools and to improve the financial lives of the next generation of Americans. Their site includes lesson plans, units, questions of the day, blogs, podcasts, and much more!

    • NGPF Arcade features interactive games and simulations.

  • Take Charge Today provides educators with ready-to-teach, activity-based lesson plans free of charge.

  • PBS Learning Media has lesson plans for teaching about economics.

  • Hands On Banking online learning center offers resources for anyone who wants to learn more about money management.

  • EverFi has financial education offerings that empower learners to make safe, smart and informed financial decisions. Our interactive financial literacy class curriculum, scalable platform and in-person resources were designed not just to drive financial literacy, but financial capability.

  • Banzai is free, online financial literacy for students of all ages. It's interactive and fun.

  • 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation’s Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. It focuses on financial education as a lifelong endeavor—from children learning about the value of money to adults reaching a secure retirement.

  • Fast Lane offers evidence-based resources tailored to the diverse needs of those who support effective high school financial education. Fast Lane includes a rich set of material consisting of interactive tools, customized toolkits, sample lesson plans, and much more.

  • More resources can be found at the Maine DOE Financial Literacy Resources page.

The introduction to the Maine Learning Results for Social Studies highlights some critical components to teaching personal finance and economics in Maine:


The great architects of American public education, such as Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, and John Dewey, believed that every student must be well versed in our nation's history, the principles and practices which support and sustain citizenship, and the institutions that define our government. Understandings of commerce and geography were critical to their thinking as well. In essence, Jefferson, Mann, and Dewey viewed the study of social studies as critical to the mission of public schools. According to the National Council for the Social Studies: advocates of citizenship education cross the political spectrum, but they are bound by a common belief that our democratic republic will not sustain unless students are aware of their changing cultural and physical environments; know the past; read, write, and think deeply; and act in ways that promote the common good. (C3 Framework for Social Studies, 2013).

A strong Social Studies education depends upon a clear understanding of its interrelated disciplines and inclusion of Maine’s Guiding Principles. Without knowledge of the geography and economics of earlier times, history offers only lists of people, events, and dates. Without knowledge of history, the institutions of American government and the dynamics of today's global economy are difficult to understand. Although social studies curricula vary in their breadth and depth, the Social Studies Standards reflect a focus on government, history, geography, personal finance and economics as the pillars of the content, with other disciplines within the social sciences deemed important, but not essential.


Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles guide education in Maine and should be reflected throughout Social Studies curriculum.  Examples of how students can show evidence of those guiding principles in Social Studies may include:

  1. Clear and Effective Communicator:  Students research and use background knowledge to give audiovisual presentations about current and historical issues.
  2. Self-Directed and Lifelong Learner:  Students generate questions and explore primary and secondary sources to answer those questions while demonstrating a growth mindset.
  3. Creative and Practical Problem Solver: Students draw conclusions about current and historical problems using valid research and critical thinking.
  4. Responsible and Involved Citizen: Students practice and apply the duties of citizenship through the exercise of constitutional rights
  5. Integrative and Informed Thinker: Students compare and contrast to analyze point of view and differentiate between reliable and unreliable primary and secondary sources.


Skills in Social Studies:

The application of skills in Social Studies is crucial to any curriculum. Best practices in Social Studies reflect curriculum, instruction, and assessment that give students opportunities to demonstrate research and develop positions on current Social Studies issues. Students will be asked to identify key words and concepts related to research questions and locate and access information by using text features. Additionally, students will demonstrate facility with note-taking, organizing information, and creating bibliographies. Students will distinguish between primary and secondary sources as well as evaluate and verify the credibility of the information found in print and non-print sources. Equally important is that students use additional sources to resolve contradictory information.


Major Enduring Themes - The term “major enduring themes” is used in several places in the Social Studies Standards. This term refers to general topics or issues that have been relevant over a long period of time. Using a consistent set of themes can serve as a framework within which other concepts, topics, and facts can be organized. It can also help students make connections between events within and across historical eras, and use history to help make informed decisions. The Civics and Government, Personal Finance and Economics, Geography, and History Standards all include performance expectations that address individual, cultural, international, and global connections. It will be up to the School Administrative Units to determine whether they use these performance expectations as an opportunity to integrate across the disciplines of the social studies or address them separately. The “enduring themes,” some of which overlap, include:

  • Freedom and Justice
  • Conflict and Compromise
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Unity and Diversity
  • Continuity and Change Over Time
  • Supply and Demand


Spiraling K-12 -  A course of study in which students will see the same topics throughout their school career, with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning. The Social Studies Standards and performance expectations have been created in order to reflect a progression of increasing complexity from K-5 and between the 6-8, and 9-diploma grade spans.