High School Lesson Plans for History and Geography Classes

Money Matters:
The Importance of Global Cooperation

This high school curriculum seeks to actively involve students in exploring and constructing an informed understanding of global cooperation by studying the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The activities are designed to include a visit — or virtual visit — to the IMF Center's exhibition, Money Matters: The Importance of Global Cooperation. They focus on the history, mission, structure and function of the IMF, as well as its past and continuing contribution to the economic stability of nations and the living standards of individuals.

Note to the teacher: The curriculum includes activities suitable for high school students enrolled in world and American history, geography, economics, and business courses. The curriculum begins with general activities, which can stand alone as an introduction to the IMF and/or prepare students for a visit to the IMF Center. (See II below.) These are followed by activities specific to students' courses of study. (See III, IV, and V below.) Teachers may choose from among the activities to satisfy classroom and field-trip needs and time constraints. Objectives and procedures are easily adaptable to the skill and knowledge level of students. Sections I and VI use concept maps as assessment tools to measure students' entry knowledge before starting the curriculum and final understandings following its conclusion.

Students will be able to:

  1. Explain the role of the IMF as a facilitator of global cooperation:
    • How the IMF functions as a cooperative international organization.
    • How the IMF facilitates international trade.
    • How the IMF strengthens its members' economies.
  2. Discuss the adaptations over time made by the IMF.
  3. Describe the interplay among sociocultural, political, and economic forces, and the impact of these forces on nations and individuals.
  4. Identify the essential mechanisms for productive cooperation when working with others, (e.g., negotiating, compromising, seeking consensus, and managing conflicts).


  1. Initial Assessment: Concept Map
    Note to the teacher: The curriculum begins with a measure of students' entry knowledge, using concept maps as the assessment tool. Concept maps provide a quick read of students' prior knowledge, e.g., misconceptions, familiarity with relevant vocabulary. They also serve to bring to the foreground both content and organization of current knowledge and attitudes, readying the student for what is to come.

    1. With the class as a whole, the teacher models the drawing of a concept map of the term "money" by writing it on the blackboard and asking, "What does this term mean?" As students respond, they and the teacher begin to map and make connections among related concepts.

    2. Students draw individual concept maps of the term "International Monetary Fund" or "IMF." After general discussion, the teacher collects the signed maps to be used as an assessment measure by teachers and students on completion of the curriculum.

  2. Pre-Visit Activities: General Introduction
    Note to the teacher: The first three activities provide students with the following: a general introduction to the IMF; practice in the processes of "reading" images; experience conducting web-based research. These activities are designed to increase both teacher and student awareness of competency and gaps in knowledge. Teachers may decide the number of class periods required for these activities. Students should maintain a folder of materials to be drawn on throughout the three-part curriculum. Following completion of this section, the lesson plans are tailored to specific courses.

    Teacher Materials: Selected images from the exhibit, including the IMF logo, "Who's Got the Gold?", "Anybody Have Any Suggestions?", "I Don't Even Understand the Old System", "During Transition to a Market Economy, Fasten Seat Belts"; IMF video, Millennium: Out of the Ashes (Media Player).

    IMF logo Who's Got the Gold? Anybody Have Any Suggestions?

    Printable IMF logo

    Printable "Who's Got the Gold?"


    Printable "Anybody Have Any Suggestions?"


    I Don't Even Understand the Old System During Transition to a Market Economy, Fasten Seat Belts


    Printable "I Don't Even Understand the Old System"


    Printable "During Transition to a Market Economy, Fasten Seat Belts"



    Student Materials: Appendix A: Pre-Visit Materials, including 1. Executive Board Room; 2. Glossary of Terms; and 3. "Researching the IMF" Worksheet. World Map

    1. Advance Organizer
      1. The teacher shows an image of the IMF logo with the olive branch, followed by a brainstorming discussion of the meaning of the symbols.
      2. The teacher shows exhibition images and leads a discussion of students' understanding or misunderstanding of the IMF. (Examples of possible responses/misconceptions-oversees the free exchange of currencies to its member countries, loans money, creates jobs, rebuilds cities.)

    2. Introduction to the IMF
      1. The teacher prepares students for viewing the "Millennium: Out of the Ashes" (Media Player) portion of the Millennium video by asking them to think about the following:
        • What are the goals of the IMF?
        • How is the organization structured to achieve its goals?

      2. The teacher shows this video "Millennium: Out of the Ashes" (Media Player) and facilitates a discussion during and/or following the video using the suggested questions below:
        • What are the purpose and ultimate goals of the IMF? How does the IMF logo represent the ultimate goals?
        • When was it founded? What is significant about the date?
        • What are the major differences between the IMF and the World Bank?
        • How many members sit on the IMF Executive Board? How does the Board make decisions?
        • Where do Executive Board members get information on which to base their decisions?
        • What do you know now about the IMF that you didn't know before?

      3. The teacher distributes and previews Appendix A. Students use the IMF web site and search additional Internet sites to complete research on the mission, structure, and work of the IMF.

      Note to the teacher: Include IMF Websites (www.imf.org): "What is the IMF?" "IMF At A Glance," and/or "Chronology," and sites addressing current IMF activities and issues. See latest speech of the Managing Director (www.imf.org/cgi-shl/create_x.pl?mds). In Appendix A 4 ("Researching the IMF"), the teacher may select from the list of questions or adapt them as appropriate.

    3. Discussion of findings
      The students report on the outcome of their web-based research.

  3. Pre-Visit Activities: History/Geography Curriculum
    Note to the teacher: The following activities (III A and B) complete the preparation for the visit to the IMF Center. They preview processes and materials to be used by students at the Center, address the logistics for the visit, and introduce the overarching question, "The IMF-Why Do We Need It?"

    Student Materials: Appendix A 4: Image Analysis Worksheet, and A 5: Newspaper Articles. Appendix B: "At The IMF": Exhibit Worksheet.

    1. Individually or in pairs, the students use the Image Analysis Worksheet (Appendix A 4) to read a photograph or a political cartoon relating to world geography or history. The teacher facilitates a class discussion of the process of "reading" images as a means of interpreting content.

    2. The teacher reviews the schedule for the day of the visit.

    3. The teacher divides the class into five or six groups (3-5 students) and distributes Appendix B, "At the IMF Center" Exhibit Worksheet to be completed during the visit to the IMF Center. The exhibit activities require students to work cooperatively in their small groups. Worksheet questions are linked to specific exhibit areas and require each group member to become knowledgeable about the area topic. The final two questions for each area are consistent across group assignments. When students return to the classroom, they form new groups and take responsibility for "teaching" the new group about their respective exhibit areas (jigsaw technique).

    4. The teacher distributes newspaper articles (Appendix A 5) reflecting multiple points of view toward the IMF to be read as a homework assignment.

  4. Visit to the IMF Center
    Note to the teacher: The visit to the Center provides direct experience for learning about the IMF and its role in fostering global cooperation. The activities continue to build understanding of the overarching question, "The IMF-Why Do We Need It?" Guided by "At the IMF Center" Exhibit Worksheet (Appendix B) students will be able to:
    • add to their current knowledge with information from both the exhibit and videos;
    • discuss how the role of the IMF has changed since its inception;
    • consider how the IMF has affected the lives of individuals, the United States as a nation, and the world.

    An IMF representative is on hand to provide information and answer questions. The visit is organized to minimize crowding by assigning groups to two areas of the IMF Center-exhibit panels and mini-theater. The visit takes approximately 1½ hours.

    Student Materials: Folder containing Appendices A and B, notepaper, pencils.
    1. Introduction
      An IMF representative welcomes and orients students to the Center, and remains as a consultant to students during the visit.

    2. IMF Center Assignments:
      Students use materials in Appendix B to guide IMF Center activities. Half of the students explores the exhibit "Money Matters: The Importance of Global Cooperation," while half visits the mini-theatre and views case study videos about African countries and Korea. After 45 minutes, students switch activities.

  5. Post-Visit Activities
    Note to the Teacher: These activities are designed to help students synthesize their understanding of the IMF. They are asked to summarize what they have learned by answering the question, "The IMF-Why Do We Need It?" Students will be able to:
    • describe the IMF's historical development;
    • explain its response through institutional change;
    • provide examples of the IMF's current role in fostering global cooperation;
    • discuss the roots of controversy reflected in protests aimed at the IMF;
    • predict the IMF's role in the future.

    In addition, they will be able to recognize the essential mechanisms for productive cooperation at the IMF and in their classroom activities.

    Student Materials: Three or four newspaper articles documenting protests against the IMF; folders of cumulative materials, including assignments.

    1. Jigsaw
      1. The students meet in their small groups to review their assignments (Appendix B, worksheets) and to raise questions that remain about the IMF.

      2. The students form new groups, each student bringing information from his/her assigned exhibit area and assignments to the new group to discuss:
        • why protests have been aimed at the IMF;
        • how the role of the IMF has changed since its inception and
        • how the IMF has affected the lives of individuals, the United States as a nation, and the world.

    2. Final Class Discussion
      1. The teacher writes this quote on the board and facilitates a discussion of its importance:

        "In a world of accelerating history, the future is already with us, calling for a high sense of responsibility, for bold action, and for intense cooperation between member countries."

                    Michel Camdessus, IMF Managing Director (1987-2000)

      2. Students brainstorm a hypothetical exhibit area that takes the IMF and its member nations into the next decade.

    3. Final Assignment
      Note to the teacher: The final assessment provides a record of the students' new understanding of the IMF's role in fostering global cooperation. The teacher may specify content and length of the essay.

      The student writes a response to: "The IMF—Why Do We Need It?"

  6. Final Assessment: Concept Map
    Note to the teacher: The curriculum ends with a measure of the students' new understanding. By comparing the initial and final concept maps, both the teacher and the student are able to assess the growth of knowledge.

    Student Materials: Initial concept map.

    The teacher distributes the students' initial concept maps. The students draw a final concept map, with "IMF" at the Center.

Money Matters Curriculum Table of Contents

Money Matters