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Virtual Economics

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Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Making Choices
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 9-10 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students are introduced to the nature of choice making by confronting thorny problems individually and in groups.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Alternative, Choice, Opportunity cost, Scarcity, Value

Theme 1: Lesson 3 - Decision Making
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, students learn that we must make decisions because resources are limited and wants are unlimited. Students see that sound decision making involves identifying criteria and using those criteria to make decisions. Students use a decision-making grid to understand how such a grid can be used to choose a college. They then use a similar grid to decide what personal computer to buy.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Opportunity cost, Wants, Cost/benefit analysis, Decision making

Theme 1: Lesson 2 - The Economic Way of Thinking
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
Lesson 2 introduces students to the economic reasoning process or the "economic way of thinking." Students reason through two situations, using The Handy Dandy Guide, a primer on economic reasoning.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Opportunity cost, Wants, Cost/benefit analysis, Decision making, Incentives

Lesson 13 - Researching Companies
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students apply an economic way of thinking to gathering information regarding securities. They learn that the cost of acquiring information must be compared to the anticipated benefit the information will provide. The students discuss the example of LeBron James and recognize that there is intense competition to find information about companies. They select companies to research by participati...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Alternatives, Choice, Fundamental analysis, Opportunity cost, Scarcity

Section 6: The Basics of a Market Economy
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will identify the characteristics of people who build wealth. Participants will recognize the primary features of a market economy including voluntary exchange, private ownership, a price system, the profit motive, competition, and financial institutions.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Scarcity, Choice, Opportunity cost, Banking, Deposits, Withdrawals, Saving, Spending, Money,

Section 4: A Roof Over Your Head
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will understand the benefits and drawbacks of homeownership. Participants will understand the process of buying a home, from before house-hunting to closing and occupancy. Participants will understand the risks of speculating with money being saved toward a down payment and the risks presented by refinancing with predatory lenders.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Alternatives, Benefits, Costs, Choice, Decisions, Opportunity cost, Spending, Saving

Section 5: Strategies for Wealth Building
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will understand the concept of net wealth and how the decisions they make can cause their own net wealth to increase or decrease. Participants will explain why an early start in saving and investing increases a household's ability to build its wealth. Participants will understand that buying and holding financial assets leads to a greater long-term net wealth than frequent trading o...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic wants, Choices, Opportunity cost, Money, Spending, Saving, Savings accounts, Banks, Deposits, Withdrawals,

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Economic Reasoning: Why Are We A Nation of Couch Potatoes?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding exercise and diet. They use the Guide to Economic Reasoning to analyze the costs and benefits of decisions about diet and exercise. They discover that human behavior is influenced by choices, costs, incentives, rules, voluntary exchange, and future consequences, even in decisions about diet and exercise.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic systems, Future consequences, Incentives, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Lesson 15 - Why Don't People Save?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students examine risk-oriented behavior, considering why people often engage in behavior that is dangerous or unhealthy. They are introduced to the concept of cost/benefit analysis and asked to apply what they learn to questions about saving. They generate lists of savings goals and categorize those goals as short-term, medium-term and long-term. They learn why long-term goals are more difficu...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Benefits, Costs, Goals, Incentives, Interest, Long-term goal, Medium-term goal, Opportunity cost, Saving, Short-term goal

Unit 5: Lesson 24 - Government and the Environment
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding the failure of the Endangered Species Act. They are introduced to the concepts of market failure and government failure. Using the Guide to Economic Reasoning, they focus on positive and negative externalities in analyzing the Endangered Species Act as an example of government failure.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic system, Externalities, Future consequences, Government failure, Incentives, Market failure, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Unit 1: Lesson 4 - To Choose or Not to Choose? That Is Not the Question
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students make a decision after identifying the alternatives and their anticipated costs and benefits.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Alternatives, Choices, Economizing behavior, Scarcity

Lesson 3 - Using Economic Reasoning To Solve Mysteries
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students ponder an economic mystery: Why do professional athletes, many of whom never finish college, earn far higher salaries than people who perform worthy services such as teachers and firefighters? The students discuss various explanations for this seemingly nonsensical inequity and then examine a set of clues and the principles of economic reasoning to help them arrive at a solution for the...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic reasoning, Incentives, Opportunity cost

Lesson 2 - Economic Decision Making
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students brainstorm ways to allocate a scarce good within the classroom. Then they work with a decision-making model that helps them make a decision about this allocation by showing them how to evaluate the merits of each alternative. Finally, students classify examples of market, traditional and command economic systems.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Allocation, Choices, Economic systems, Economizing behavior, Opportunity cost, Scarcity

Unit 3: Lesson 15 - Why Do Some People Earn More Than Others?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding differences in income. They use the Guide to Economic Reasoning to analyze the problem and reach a tentative solution.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic system, Future consequences, Human capital, Incentives, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Unit 4: Lesson 20 - Why Helping Yourself Helps Others
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding greed and self-interest. They use economic reasoning to analyze the mystery and reach a tentative explanation.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Competition, Economic system, Future consequences, Incentives, Market economy, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Theme 3: Lesson 8 - What's the Cost of Spending and Saving?
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
This lesson examines the benefit and opportunity cost of spending and saving. Students use a chart to learn how compound interest makes savings grow. Compounding provides an incentive to save or invest early. Because of compounding, the benefit of early saving and investing when you are young increases in greater proportion than the opportunity cost.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Opportunity cost, Cost/benefit analysis, Decision making

Lesson 6 - The Economic Way of Thinking: Three Activities to Demonstrate Marginal Analysis
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
This lesson consists of three activities that demonstrate different applications of marginal analysis. You may use the activities separately or do them together in one class period. In the first activity, the students produce a good and demonstrate the law of diminishing marginal returns. In the second activity, a student consumes a good and demonstrates the law of diminishing marginal utility. In...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Diminishing marginal returns, Diminishing marginal utility, Marginal analysis, Marginal benefits and marginal costs, Opportunity cost, Scarcity, Specialization and division of labor

Lesson 1: Choice, Opportunity Costs, and Decisions
Focus: High School Economics
Scarcity, choice, and cost are sometimes referred to as a basic trilogy of economics, because of the strong interrelationships between these fundamental concepts. Resources are limited, compared to wants; therefore, individuals and families face the problem of scarcity in deciding how to allocate their incomes and their time. All societies must also make choices about how to use their scarce res...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Scarcity, Opportunity costs, Tradeoffs,

Lesson 1 - Why Insurance and How Does It Work?
Virtual Economics: Insurance Lessons
This lesson uses readings and group work to describe the risks that are a part of everyone's life. It then elaborates on five ways to handle risk. Two of these ways are to share and transfer risk, which is the purpose of insurance.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Avoiding risk, Decision making, Insurance, Opportunity cost, Premium, Probability, Reducing risk, Retaining risk, Risk, Sharing risk, Transferring risk,

Lesson 7: The Mathematics of Nonlinear Economic Shapes: The Production Possibilities Curve
Mathematics & Economics: Connections for Life - 9-12
Because the resources (such as raw materials, minerals, energy, labor, equipment, machinery, etc.) that are used to produce goods and services are limited in their availability, we cannot have all that we want. When limited resources come into conflict with unlimited wants, scarcity is said to exist. Without scarcity, we could have all that we want, and we would not need to make difficult and cost...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Scarcity, Choice, Opportunity cost, Efficiency, Economic growth,

ONLINE LESSONS:

online Production Possibilities Curve
Students will apply the concepts of scarcity, choice, and opportunity costs using a production possibilities curve. Students will interpret points inside and outside the curve. As an extension, students will see the relationship between a country's aggregate production function and its production possibilities curve.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Trade-off

online Mobile Phones Matter
Most high school students are comfortable using mobile phones. Many high school students use smartphones, such as iPhones, which are becoming part of our culture. It is also becoming more cost effective to use the broad range of smartphone services to cut down on other costs such as watches, games, and other accessory items. According to Maximilian Schmeiser of the Federal Reserve, the Center for ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Banking,Budget,Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Opportunity Cost,Trade-off,Benefit,Insurance

online Decision Making
Students apply a particular model for making decisions in exercises that call for choosing a college and buying a personal computer. The model focuses on explicit identification of problems, alternative possibilities for solving problems, criteria for evaluating those possibilities, and the opportunity cost of the decisions arising from the process. The need to make decisions is shown to be based ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Decision-Making Grid

online College: Where am I going to go?
Students will use a PACED decision making grid to help them decide where they would like to attend college.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Decision Making,Opportunity Cost

online Car Loan Project
Each student will buy (hypothetically) a car that will need to be financed. The student will need to look at different options and decide which will be the best choice for his situation. The student will need to find an advertisement for a car that he would like to purchase. Each student will hand in a report that details his findings.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Decision Making,Opportunity Cost

online Satisfaction Please! (Part 1)
Even the savviest consumer has a problem with a good or service on occasion. It is a consumer’s right to complain when there is a genuine problem. In some situations, it is also a consumer’s responsibility. A problem can’t be fixed if no one knows it exists. In this series of three lessons, students learn how to effectively seek redress for a consumer problem. In the first lesson...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Consumer Economics,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Incentive,Opportunity Cost

online The Economics of National Security
ESSENTIAL DILEMMA How do we know if we are getting good value out of the money we spend on defense?
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Opportunity Cost,Costs,Debt

online It's a Matter of Power
Students examine tradeoffs and profit- maximization decisions in the case study of Kaiser Aluminum, which decided to shut down aluminum production in favor of reselling electricity.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Incentive,Opportunity Cost,Profit Motive,Trade-off

online Break a Leg
In this lesson students will learn about the basic components and terminology of individual health insurance. Students will make decisions about the value of insurance protection and you will identify trends in the cost of medical care in the United States.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Choice,Consumer Economics,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Opportunity Cost,Trade-off,Insurance

online Should I Use Cash or Credit?
To use or not to use credit for a major purchase is an important decision. There is a nifty process in making such decisions-one that has been useful to many young people. They have used it not only for credit decisions but also for other major decisions, such as whether or not to take a particular job or what college to attend. In this lesson, we will look at this process and help you apply it. W...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Credit,Decision Making,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity

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