Grade 6-8, 9-12

Time Value of Money

Time: 60 mins,
Updated: January 17 2022,


Students will be able to:

  • Explain how interest rates and inflation change the value of money over time.

In this economics lesson, students will learn how the value of money changes over time.



Open the PowerPoint Slides. Use the Speaking Notes for PPT for talking points or find the notes in the speaking notes of the PPT as well. Show slide #2:

Which would you rather have?

  • $100 today
  • $100 one year from today

If the interest rate is 5%, $100 today is basically equal to ___ one year from now.

  • $95
  • $100
  • $105
  • $150

If you lent a friend $50 two years ago and the interest rate is 2%, he or she now owes you approximately

  • $48
  • $100
  • $50
  • $52

Which of these is the most valuable, if the interest rate is 10%?

  • $800 today
  • $1000 three years from now
  • $2000 ten years from now
  • $3000 twenty years from now

Review the answers on slide #3.


Continue to review slides 3 to 16. The slide deck reviews each concept presented in the warm-up activity including how to calculate present value. Within the slide deck there are references to The Economics of Seinfeld: The Kiss Hello Video. Use the Speaking Notes for PPT in the slide deck to guide students through modeling.

Group Activity

Assign students to work in groups and hand out a copy of Group Activity. The calculations are complicated, so students may need guidance with the math. For the group activity, using the formulas for Future Value and Present Value calculations or the Investopedia Calculators. Have students work in groups of 2-4 to answer the questions. Use the Group Activity Answer Key to review the answers as class.


Have the students complete the Exit Ticket and submit their responses before leaving the classroom. Use the Exit Ticket Answer Key as a reference to give student’s feedback on their work.


Activity 1

Have the students complete the activity In the News: “What $100 Was Worth”. Students will be tasked to complete the following:

$100 is more valuable today than in the future because if you had the money in hand today, you could invest it and earn interest on it. Another reason $100 is more valuable today is because money loses value over time, due to inflation.  When your parents (and grandparents) were young, $100 was worth a lot more. Use the link to the article on Business Insider: What $100 was worth in the decade you were born, which explains how the value of $100 has changed over time. Answer the questions.

Use In the News: “What $100 Was Worth” Answer Key to review the answers as a class.