Introduction to the High School Curriculum
(for Business, Economics, History and Geography Classes)

In the year 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Center opened a permanent exhibit, Money Matters: The Importance of Global Cooperation. This companion high school curriculum offers a combination of classroom experiences and/or a field trip visit to the exhibit to promote students' understanding of globalization, international economic cooperation, and the work of the IMF.

The teachers and museum educators who designed the curriculum considered both content and process outcomes. They used the national standards for social studies teachers published by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the Center for Civic Education as guidelines in its development (see and "Global Connections," one of the ten thematic subject-matter standards that comprises the social studies framework, provides the relevant context for this curriculum:

The realities of global interdependence require that learners understand the increasingly important and diverse connections among world societies. Analysis of tensions between national interests and global priorities contributes to the development of possible solutions to persistent and emerging global issues in many fields: health care, economic development, environmental quality, human rights and others.

Related teacher expectations for this theme are:

  • Teachers should help learners to describe and evaluate the role of international and multinational organizations in the global arena.
  • Teachers should guide learner analysis of the relationships and tensions between national sovereignty and global interests in such matters as territorial disputes, economic development, nuclear and other weapons deployment, use of natural resources, and human rights concerns.

In addition to subject-matter standards, the NCSS also identifies principles of teaching to ensure the "essential characteristics of powerful social studies." Among the principles listed are requirements that teaching and learning be value-based, challenging, and active. The IMF curriculum is built upon these three basics ensuring that teachers will be able to use it to successfully meet national standards.

Overview of the curriculum
The curriculum uses a three-part structure consisting of pre-visit activities conducted in the classroom, a visit to the IMF Center, and post-visit activities back in the classroom. . The pre-visit activities could also can stand alone as a general introduction to the IMF and/or prepare students for a visit to the IMF Center. Activities encourage flexibility in application across disciplines, grade level, and classroom requirements and incorporate evaluative measures to assess their effectiveness. The curriculum is appropriate for grades nine through twelve within the social studies content areas of American and world history, geography, economics and business. Teachers may choose from different activities to satisfy classroom and field trip time constraints. The curriculum emphasizes the cooperative nature of the experiences by employing participatory, small-group activities as well as opportunities for independent research and creative expression, (e.g., drawing, writing, role-playing).

Curriculum resources include:

  • images from the exhibition, e.g., cartoons, photographs, graphs, etc.
  • IMF publications, videos, and websites
  • additional pertinent websites

Museum educators, Judith Landau and Joanne Hirsch and public high school teachers, Paula Segal (Washington, DC), Loren Baron (Montgomery County, MD) and Diane Birch (Fairfax County, VA) designed and developed the curriculum. Linda Kamel, Director of the IMF Center, and David Driscoll, an IMF content specialist, provided direction and support.

Money Matters Curriculum Table of Contents

Money Matters