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### Our Nation's Debt: How Much Is 14,000,000,000,000?

Not a day passes that I don’t turn on the news and hear something about our country’s financial situation. Lately, the focus has been on the so-called debt ceiling which doesn’t seem much like a ceiling to me. Instead, it is an arbitrary number that our debt shall not exceed at any given moment. However, it seems that our debt just keeps getting bigger and bigger and few people seem affected by it on a day-to-day basis. What’s most concerning is that our students, those who will be facing the debt in upcoming years, probably understand very little about the magnitude of our debt. This is because there are few numerical situations that can compare to the number that represents the amount of money our country owes.

Let’s change that…let’s start doing more to educate our students about this enormous problem with the hope that, through understanding, students will better be able to tackle this challenge in the future. Our published national debt is roughly \$14 trillion. What does this mean to middle school students? It probably doesn’t register beyond knowing that trillion is one thousand times greater than billion; but again that doesn’t mean much when they don’t have an understanding of how much a billion represents. Students need help with understanding just how much money we’re talking about. Life’s Little Mysteries has created an infographic that depicts the size of our national debt in pictures. Have your students take a look at this infographic...it does help to put things into perspective just a bit. Perhaps you can even have your students develop their own infographic to depict the size of our debt. What a great visual and collaborative activity for students!

Helping students see how great our country’s debt is will not eliminate the debt. However, it will help our students grow to be informed, knowledgeable citizens. Remember, our debt isn’t going to disappear in the next 5 to 10 years, so these students wil be our future problem-solvers to help alleviate some of this pressure. What better way to prepare them for such a grand task than to begin educating them about where our nation stands?

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