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Virtual Economics

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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,

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 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

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 9 - Why Do Oil Reserves Keep Increasing?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students view a visual regarding oil reserves and consumption. They calculate how many years it will take us to run out of oil at a given rate of consumption. The teacher then explains that the numbers on the visual were from 1970 and that in the meanwhile we have not run out of oil. How can this be? The students learn the meaning of provable reserves of petroleum and use economic reasoning to...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Incentive, Price, Supply

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

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 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

Unit 4: Lesson 12 - What Results When People Work Together to Produce?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read about the settlers at Jamestown in 1607 and the signers of the Mayflower Compact, focusing on why they agreed to cooperate to survive when they settled in North America.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Compact, Incentive, Interdependence, Produce,

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,

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

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

Unit 3: Lesson 13 - What Influences My Choices?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students conduct paired interviews to learn what kinds of influences affect their choices.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Disincentive, Incentive,

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 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 13 - Forest Fires: Natural Catastrophes or Monsters We Have Created?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students examine information about the ongoing threat of catastrophic fires facing many forests in the United States, especially national forests in the West. They analyze possible explanations for the threat posed by fires and use economic reasoning to assess the explanations.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Incentives, Private property ownership, Profits

Lesson 7 - Can Incentives Protect Endangered Species?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students discuss ways to protect fish placed on display in a science class. By viewing visuals, they learn about key provisions of the Endangered Species Act. They role-play international commissioners and make recommendations regarding policies to protect endangered species.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Incentives, Private property rights

Lesson 11 - If We Grow More Food, Won't We Degrade the Environment?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students examine evidence about the impact of modern farming. They analyze the costs and benefits of modern agricultural practices, noting that the benefits derive from improved productivity. They assess the possibility that continued improvements in productivity will soften the environmental impact of modern farming by enabling farmers to produce more food while cultivating less land. To the ...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Competition, Incentives, Private property rights, Productivity

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

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 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 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 US History: Inventors & Entrepreneurs
Students will learn the difference between inventors and entrepreneurs. From talking with adults they will learn some of the benefits inventors and entrepreneurs have provided for society in the last 40 years.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Consumers,Entrepreneurship,Incentive,Producers

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 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 Transportation: They Say We Had a Revolution (Part 3)
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 transportation and its impact on our nation (and vice versa) since the United States declared its independence in 1776. Lesson 1 focuses on improvem...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Competition,Incentive,Inventors,Profit Motive,Role of Government,Technological Changes,Investment,Profit,Property Rights,Innovation

online Henry Ford and the Model T: A Case Study in Productivity (Part 2)
When Henry Ford announced he was going to produce an automobile that would be affordable to the masses, he probably did not realize what a great impact his achievement would have on life in the United States. and, eventually, the world. Ford’s use of mass production strategies to manufacture the Model T revolutionized industrial manufacturing and initiated a new era in personal transportatio...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Factors of Production,Human Resources,Incentive,Production,Productive Resources,Entrepreneur,Human Capital,Labor,Productivity,Resources,Innovation

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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