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Financial Literacy Activities

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Explaining how inflation works

Students learn about inflation and buying power by using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Calculator to compare prices for goods and services in 1960, 1990, and 2019.


Spend (Buying things)


CTE (Career and technical education), Math, Social studies or history

Grade Level

Middle school (6-8)


75-90 minutes

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Big idea

Inflation occurs when the prices of goods and services increase over time.

Essential questions

  • What is inflation?
  • What is buying power and how is it related to inflation?


  • Analyze how prices and buying power have changed over time
  • Learn how inflation might impact you in the future 

What students will do

  • Watch a video that explains how inflation works.
  • Use an online inflation calculator to track inflation over time.

Download activity

Teacher guide


Student materials


Note: Please remember to consider your students’ accommodations and special needs to ensure that all students are able to participate in a meaningful way.

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