The Ascent of MoneyThe Ascent of Money

The four one-hour part PBS series, The Ascent of Money, provides an overview of the global financial system. Produced during the height of the financial crisis, and under the direction of Dr. Niall Ferguson of Harvard, the series revealed both the history of financial systems and the coincidences of financial booms and busts. The Ascent of Money has been used widely in college and high school classrooms.

Funding from the Calvin K Kazanjian Economics Foundation supported online teacher materials used in conjunction with the series. Most materials are directed at high school social studies/economics classrooms. The sophistication of the series, however, allows for application to the college classroom as well. The web-based lesson plans and activities can be ordered through WNET, www.pbs.org/wnet/ascentofmoney.  The online version consists of a series of questions that teachers pose to students along with accompanying lesson plans easily adaptable to a standard high school economics course or world history course.

The grant from the Foundation was substantially leveraged. The cost of the entire series exceeded $1.5 million when it premiered in 2008. CDs are available, and The Ascent of Money is broadcast occasionally over PBS stations throughout the country.