May 16, 2022

Podcasts in the Classroom - Current Events Edition: The Fed, Interest Rates, and Inflation (Updated)

This week’s Podcasts in the Classroom uses a variety of shorter, readily available podcasts to introduce how the Fed raising interest rates in order to curb inflation impacts the economy.  These recent headlines are aimed to inspire discussion.

Note: This post is an updated version of the Podcasts in the Classroom posted in mid-April and contains similar discussion questions from the previous version.

Here are some 2-4 minute Marketplace podcasts discussing these headlines.

  • 5/3 Marketplace Anticipated Fed interest rate hike already being felt.
  • 5/3 Marketplace The Federal Reserve plans to shrink its balance sheet. Here’s what that means.
  • 5/4 Marketplace Why Fed might not be too upset when stocks fall.

Here are some relevant Marketplace Minute podcasts.

  • 5/13 Morning Briefing A “soft landing” depends on things beyond Fed control
  • 5/5 Morning Briefing The Fed does more than increase interest rates to try to control inflation.
  • 5/4 Closing Bell The Fed increases interest rates by 50 basis points.


Determine how much time you want to devote to this activity, and select podcasts to provide students with background information. 

Have students then tackle these discussion questions. This can be done individually, in groups, or as a class. 

  1. How does the Fed use interest rates used to curb inflation? Why does it take awhile for an interest rate to have an impact? 
  2. What other tool does the Fed have in its toolkit to help?  How does that influence interest rates and ultimately, the price level?
  3. What factors outside of the Fed’s control are contributing to inflation and making their job more challenging? What role does consumer behavior play in this?
  4. From what you have heard, can you give an explanation for why stock prices have dropped?

Interested in learning more about the Fed? Be sure to check out the On-Demand Module “The Fed: Bank of Banks”.

If you use this assignment in your class, please let us know how it went!

About the Authors

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an MBA in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducts student workshops, and develops finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

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