Charge It!

Charge It!
Mamie Eisenhower: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Skill: High School/College
Time Required: One to two class periods


The credit card had its beginnings in the 1950s during a period of unprecedented earning and wealth in the United States.  Mamie was a careful manager who, although raised in privileged circumstances, still knew the value of a dollar and could always save money.  Perhaps she had one of the early cards.


The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students with the history of credit cards, their value, and their pitfalls.   

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.


1.  Ask students how many of them have a debit card; how many have a credit card. 

2.  Ask them how long credit cards have been in use by the general public.  Divide the class into two groups.  Group 1 will investigate the history of credit cards; Group 2 will explore issues of saving and investing. 

3.  When research is complete the two groups will present their findings.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson could be extended by involving students in a business enterprise in the classroom: following the market, for example, or producing something and selling it.  Or, students could involve themselves in a debate about the age at which credit cards should be extended to invidiuals.

Sources & Resources:



This lesson was developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.