Apr 18, 2022

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

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.

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

  • 4/12 Marketplace Why taming inflation can take so long
  • 4/7 Marketplace The Fed’s interest rate hike is already reducing demand for mortgages

Here are some relevant Marketplace Minute podcasts.

  • 4/14 Closing Bell mortgage rates top 5%.
  • 4/8 Midday Homebuyer interest drops in certain markets, and Bank of America joins Deutsche Bank in warning of elevated risk of recession. 
  • 4/6 Closing Bell Federal Reserve released minutes from March meeting, and Mortgage applications dropped to lowest level since 2019.

Also -- if you are looking for more ideas on incorporating the Fed and interest rates in your classroom, check out EconExtra: The Elusive “Soft Landing” and Potential for Inflation and  EconExtra: All Eyes are on the Fed Balance Sheet.


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? (Try using mortgage rates and the housing market as an example.)
  2. How might current events (ex: war, supply chain issues, lockdowns in China, etc.) affect the Fed’s decision-making? How does it affect the public’s opinion on if the Fed is doing enough or too little?
  3. What role does consumer behavior play in driving actual inflation? (How long does it take people to change their behavior when prices increase?) What role do consumer expectations play?

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 has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full-time. 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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