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Virtual Economics

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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

Lesson 9 - The Cost of Ignoring Economics and Geography
Middle School World Geography: Focus on Economics
In this lesson, the students learn how geography affects the costs of achieving an environmental goal. They remodel the classroom using a map showing several companies located along a river. They participate in a simulation that shows the impact of putting waste into the river. They are given the task of determining the least-costly way to reduce this impact. The task is complicated by the fact th...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Least-costly alternative, Incentive

Lesson 8 - The Costs and Benefits of Having Children
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students analyze data about rich and poor countries in order to examine the impact of economic wealth on population growth. Then they read a letter written by a Wisconsin farmer in 1854 regarding the work done by children in his household. They compare the value that children bring to a household in poor countries today with the value the children brought to the Wisconsin farm in 1854. Finally...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefits, Incentives, Opportunity cost

Lesson 1 - The Problem of the Homeless Salmon
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
This lesson introduces the principles of EcoDetection, a key element of EcoDetectives. By reference to the principles of EcoDetection, the lesson describes the problem of declining wild salmon populations and calls upon students to compare the life cycle of a wild salmon to the life cycle of a farmed salmon. The students use the principles of EcoDetection to evaluate a program to restore fish habi...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefits, Choice, Costs, Incentives

Lesson 4 - The Environment: Who Loves Ya, Baby?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students participate in a simulation activity that illustrates how incentives influence the behavior of people trying to earn income. In a variation of the simulation activity, they observe the effects of rule changes. When the rules change, the incentives change, and new issues of cost arise. Then the students apply a similar analysis to open-pit mining operations, taking note of a shift in c...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice, External cost, Incentives, Opportunity cost

Lesson 6 - How Can We Help Endangered Species?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students are presented with information about the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and examples of species appearing on the protected list. They examine the history of species protection under the ESA. They are asked to imagine how the ESA would work if it were applied in the case of a dog living in their neighborhood. Finally, they assess the incentives created by the law and its enforcement proc...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Anticipated benefits, Anticipated costs, Incentives

Lesson 3 - Why Do We Have So Few Whales and So Many Chickens?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students participate in a classroom simulation that demonstrates the tragedy of the commons. Next, the simulation is altered by an introduction of property rights, and the simulation outcome changes. Then the students solve the mystery of the whales and chickens by comparing their simulation experiences with actual practices regarding whale and chicken management.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice, Incentives, Property rights

Unit 5: Lesson 14 - How Can I Overcome Obstacles to Achieve My Goals?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students play The Road to Success game. While playing the game, they identify obstacles and ways to overcome obstacles to achieve a goal. They identify the incentives they respond to when they make choices and the opportunity cost of their choices.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Character trait, Cost, Creativity, Curiosity, Goal, Incentives, Motivation, Obstacle, Persistence, Problem solving,

Lesson 12 - Recycling or Landfill Disposal: What Is the Best Way to Protect the Environment?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students investigate four proposed recycling programs (curbside recycling, newspaper recycling, recycling of aluminum cans, and banning disposable diapers from landfills) and decide whether the programs should be adopted or not. They use principles of economic reasoning to defend their positions and explain positions held by others.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefit, Choice, Cost, Incentives

Lesson 14 - How Could We Cut Back on the Garbage We Produce?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
Students discuss the concept of price and investigate how prices can influence people's decisions to buy groceries and generate garbage, depending on what sort of price system is used. Then students apply what they know about prices in an effort to solve a garbagecollection mystery.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Cost,Incentives,Price

Lesson 15 - How Private Efforts Can Improve Environmental Quality
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students examine case studies showing how various uses of private property affect environmental quality. They analyze these cases in order to identify conditions under which private property ownership and the profit motive create incentives for environmental protection.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefits, Costs, Incentives, Private property, Profits, Voluntary exchange

Unit 5: Lesson 15 - What Results When People Set Goals and Plan to Achieve Their Goals?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read biographies of leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs, or workers to identify the character traits of successful persons. They identify the personal characteristics and human capital the successful persons used to achieve their goals. They compare and contrast them to the personal characteristics and human capital they would like to develop in the future.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Creativity, Entrepreneur, Goal, Incentives, Motivation, Persistence, Problem solving

Unit 1: Lesson 4 - I am Part of the Economy
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Through case study and discussion, students explore the human capital needed in a job. In an extension activity involving use of the Internet, students are introduced to youth employment.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice, Consumer, Economy, Human capital, Market economy,

Unit 1: Lesson 2 - You in the Economy
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students participate in a consumer-testing activity to learn that they weight costs and benefits when they make economic decisions.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefit, Consumer, Cost, Economy, Exchange, Market,

Unit 2: Lesson 4 - How Can I Make Decisions About My Future?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
In the mid-1700s thousands of Europeans traveled to North America seeking adventure, freedom, and economic opportunity. The risk of deciding to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in a wooden ship was great, but the potential rewards were even greater.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Alternative, Benefit, Choice, Cost, Emigrate, Immigrate, Indenture, Primogeniture, Risk,

Lesson 4 - Why Do People Move?
Middle School World Geography: Focus on Economics
In this lesson, the students learn that costs and benefits influence people's decisions about moving. The students review U.S. Census data to discuss possible reasons why people move. They analyze the costs and benefits of moving. They are introduced to the geographic terms push and pull factors of migration. Working in groups, the students read about a family that chooses to migrate to another co...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Economics, Costs, Benefits, Decision making

Chapter 3: Lesson 2 - Why Stay Up Late When It Wipes You Out the Next Day?
The Great Economic Mysteries Book: A Guide to Teaching Economic Reasoning, Grades 4-8
Students describe an economic mystery and discuss various explanations of it. They use economic principles and true/false clues in reasoning out a solution to the mystery.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Incentives

Chapter 3: Lesson 3 - The Mystery of the Lost and Found That's Always Stocked
The Great Economic Mysteries Book: A Guide to Teaching Economic Reasoning, Grades 4-8
Students describe an economic mystery and discuss various explanations of it. They use economic principles and true/false clues in reasoning out a solution to the mystery.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Incentives

Theme 1: Lesson 1 - The Economic Way of Thinking
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, the students practice the economic way of thinking, a strategy for analyzing their own decisions as well as those of others.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Opportunity cost, Incentives, Consequence

Unit 2: Lesson 5 - How Can I Improve My Ability to Produce What People Want?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read about the life and career decisions of Philip Simmons, a blacksmith and artist from Charleston, South Carolina. They analyze the skills and knowledge Mr. Simmons used to make different products throughout his career.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Blacksmith, Consumer, Demand, Goods and services, Human capital, Incentives, Income, Producer, Productive resources, Wrought iron,

ONLINE LESSONS:

online Q T Pi Fashions - Learning About Credit Card Use
Credit cards are convenient, user friendly, and at times dangerous. In this lesson students learn the joys and dangers of using credit as they help Credit, the main character in this activity, solve her credit problems.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Consumer Economics,Consumers,Credit,Decision Making,Incentive,Interest Rate,Money Management

online "The Giver": Jonas Makes a Choice
Jonas, a twelve-year old, lives in a seemingly perfect futuristic world. His community protects him from all harm and in doing so has taken away his opportunity to make decisions. Will Jonas ever be able to make a choice on his own? This lesson is based on the award-winning book "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, [Houghton Mifflin, Co., 1993.]
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Incentive,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Benefit,Costs,Alternative

online Fill 'er up, Please
Americans drive more than 2.6 trillion miles per year, that's 14,000 round trips to the sun! And for the most part, these vehicles are all running on gasoline. For many of us, we watch the price of gas as closely as the price of a gallon of milk, or the price of a movie ticket. This activity provides the students an opportunity to learn how gas prices are created and what are the component...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Consumers,Decision Making,Demand,Incentive,Markets,Price,Producers,Supply,Taxation

online Bringing the Market to the Farm
Students learn how community supported agriculture (CSAs) is changing the relationship between the farmer and the consumer.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Consumers,Incentive,Markets,Natural Resources,Producers,Profit Motive

online All In Business
This is the third in a series of lessons on entrepreneurship. "Entreduction" and "Improving on the Original" help students understand what innovations are, and what it takes to get an idea off the ground. This lesson will take students through the process of calculating risks associated with starting a new business -- the decisions and choices they'd have to make and how to...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Decision Making,Entrepreneurship,Incentive

online Dumptown, USA: Making a Ton of Difference
The amount of trash produced in the United States is mounting with each passing year. Communities are finding it increasingly difficult and costly to handle trash disposal. Recycling is considered a key solution to the garbage problem. In this lesson, students explore the extent to which various types of solid waste contribute to the problem. They then assume the role of city managers who must cho...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget,Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Economic Efficiency,Incentive,Role of Government,Benefit,Costs,Marginal Analysis,Communities and Cities

online Chevy Volt... It's Electric!
The costs and benefits of owning an electric or hybrid car will be evaluated in this lesson. By reading and researching the history of the production of electric cars, the lesson allows students to understand how this market has developed. Specifically, the evaluation will focus on the Chevy Volt and its attempt to compete in a constantly evolving market of automobiles. Through this lesson, studen...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Competition,Incentive,Price,Quantity Demanded,Quantity Supplied,Costs,Costs of Production,Operating Costs

online Transportation: They Say We Had a Revolution (Part 2)
Advancements in transportation have played a key role in the growth of our nation. U.S.government policies have also had a considerable impact on the development of transport as we know it today. In this series of three lessons, the students examine the advancements in automobiles, roads, airlines and airports.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Exports,Gross Domestic Product (GDP),Incentive,Inventors,Markets,Price,Specialization,Technological Changes,Benefit,Costs,Imports,Investment,Profit,Innovation

online To Buy or Not To Buy
While precise numbers are not known, it is believed the number of boycotts has grown markedly in the past fifty years. Consumers seem to be besieged by requests from special interest groups to refrain from buying certain goods and services. In this lesson, students study how boycotts have been used throughout U.S. history to help promote economic, social and political change. After researc...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Circular Flow,Demand,Goods,Incentive,Markets,Market Economy,Services

online It Pays to Stay in School
This lesson examines some of the incentive programs being offered to keep students in school
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Incentive,Human Capital,Investment

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