Common Sense


Best Economics Websites and Apps for Students

For social studies, few topics are as essential, or as difficult to get a grip on, as economics. These games and sites help break down how the U.S. economy -- and its budgets -- work. There's a heavy emphasis on systems thinking, showing students that economics affects just about everything (for better and worse) from policy to people. On this list you'll find videos that break down the most difficult concepts, games that feature tough ethical decisions, and lessons that highlight how the economy is connected to poverty and social justice. 

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Top Picks


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BrainPOP Jr.

Top-notch videos and activities a boon for elementary school teachers

Bottom line: BrainPOP Jr. sets the bar for top-quality online learning supplements.


Flexible, deep financial resource a starting point for all grades

Bottom line: EconEdLink includes an up-to-date and comprehensive list of economics and finance topics, but it will take some browsing to find the right lessons for your classroom.

Khan Academy

Missions boost learning with balance of focus and freedom to explore

Bottom line: A solid resource for math and science instruction as well as foundational knowledge in a number of other high school subjects.

Teaching Tolerance

Thought-provoking classroom resources support diversity education

Bottom line: It's an invaluable teacher tool to help reduce prejudice and encourage tolerance in schools, as well as within society as a whole.

Motion Math: Pizza!

Serving up valuable economics lessons with an extra helping of fun

Bottom line: Fantastic math game gives kids a taste of what's needed to run a profitable business.


Clever animated hosts Tim and Moby masterfully tackle complex topics

Bottom line: Cartoon videos in this extensive collection break down ideas in clever and thoughtful ways.

People's Pie

Federal budget game's challenge delivers powerful message

Bottom line: Federal budgeting -- and its unique ethical and mathematical balancing act -- fits game-based fiddling and strategizing well, but expect a challenge.


Support kids' sense of wonder with outstanding short video lessons

Bottom line: TED-Ed includes excellent, engaging videos and support for flipped-class lessons with an incredible community of thinkers and doers.

Biz Kid$

You can bet on business and finance being interesting for teens

Bottom line: Biz Kid$ is a great introduction to financial literacy, with linked activities as well as frequently updated interactive video clips and a blog.


Environmentally-minded city sim models sustainable building

Bottom line: It carves out a useful niche in a popular genre, showing how city planning, technological development, economics, and quality of life intersect with sustainability.

Zinn Education Project

Resources, lessons help teach a more inclusive version of U.S. history

Bottom line: Free downloadable resources encourage critical thinking and active learning in search of a more accurate picture of American history.


Financial management made fun via real estate-themed building sim

Bottom line: Fiscal responsibility, city planning, and budget management are taught in a casual and engaging way.


Provocative, first-person look at poverty builds empathy

Bottom line: It'll need some scaffolding, but for students ready for the subject matter it's a great -- if sobering -- way to illustrate to students the daily realities and struggles of poverty in America.

Stop Disasters!

Slick sim explores global natural disasters

Bottom line: Few other browser-based sims better illustrate the potential of gaming for learning about serious issues in our world.


Bejeweled-style gameplay adapted to build empathy, critique downsizing

Bottom line: An easy, instantly engaging, and fascinating starting point for deep conversations about the economy, business, government, and workers.

Democracy 3

Nuanced political sim about the balancing act of government

Bottom line: This is a grown-up civics sim, full of tough choices, compelling cause and effect relationships, and controversial issues that will work best for older government students.


Explore big questions about the economy with collection of short films

Bottom line: Detailed films can help raise awareness about economic issues that are often ignored or misunderstood.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

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