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Virtual Economics

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Lesson 14 - No Free Lunch
Focus: Middle School Economics
Students use a decision tree to analyze a budget problem at a public school
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget, Taxes, Cost-benefit analysis, Trade-offs

Theme 5: Lesson 15 - Managing Cash
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
Although most middle school and junior high students do not hold full-time jobs, they do have spending power. They may earn money from an allowance or a part-time job, and they have discretionary income that totals, by some estimates, billions of dollars a year.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Fixed expenses, Variable expenses, Periodic income, Budget, Opportunity cost, Trade-off, Planned expense, Unplanned expense

Theme 2: Lesson 5 - Why Stay in School?
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, the students are encouraged to weigh costs and benefits when making decisions about education. The students will recognize that, on average, the higher the educational attainment, the greater the level of income one can expect. They will also discover that as people advance in their education, they are less likely to suffer unemployment.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Income, Opportunity cost, Costs, Benefit

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 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 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 - Invest in Yourself
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
To explore the concept that people invest in themselves through education, the students work in two groups and participate in a mathematics game. Both groups are assigned mathematics problems to solve. One group is told about a special technique for solving the problems. The other group is not. The game helps the students recognize that improved human capital allows people to produce more in the s...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Human capital, Income, Investment in human capital, Opportunity cost

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

Unit 3: Lesson 12 - Long- and Short-Term Consequences
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
With information from a guest speaker, students analyze the short- and long-term consequences of dropping out of, or graduating, from high school. Students conduct an Internet search to find and graph the most recent data on earning, education, and (un)employment.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: choices, decision making, human capital

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 13 - Why Should I Set Goals and Plan to Achieve My Goals?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students create lists of their personal goals and prioritize the goals on their lists. They identify the goals that will require development of their human capital. They identify ways in which they will be interdependent with others as they achieve their goals.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Goal, Human capital, Interdependence, Priority

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - What If I Do Not Have the Skills and Knowledge I Need to Produce?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Teams of students use their limited knowledge to accomplish a challenging task. Most of the student teams will not be successful until they acquire the necessary knowledge. The students read one of two selected books in which the main character faces problems as a result of having limited skills and knowledge.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Abuelo, Barter, Benefits, Costs, Dodecagon, Human capital, Natural resources, Physical capital, Polygon, Produce, Production, Resources, Work ethic,

Unit 1: Lesson 5 - Economic Choice and Opportunity Cost
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Through a reading, students learn how scarcity makes choices necessary and results in opportunity cost.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Alternative, Economic want, Opportunity cost, Scarcity, Cost,

Unit 2: Lesson 6 - Choices Have Benefits and Costs
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
In a simulation, "What's in the Box?" students examine the benefits and costs of alternative choices.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefit, Cost, Opportunity cost,

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 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

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

Lesson 10 - Why Drive When You Can Ride?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students examine data showing that many Americans prefer to drive their own automobiles rather than use mass public transit. They analyze this preference by reference to the costs and benefits of driving. In light of the external costs generated by automobile travel, the students evaluate market-oriented proposals for decreasing those costs.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefit, Cost, Externality

Unit 2: Lesson 8 - Ways to Make Choices
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students are introduced to six methods for making choices and decide in small groups the most appropriate way(s) to make certain choices.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefits, Choice, Costs,

Chapter 3: Lesson 8 - The Mystery of the Wasted Food
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

ONLINE LESSONS:

online Staying Afloat Financially in the 21st Century
This lesson will help students identify how to make good decisions which will help them financially in the future. Students will identify how to take their own wants and work them into a form of a personal budget. Students will also discuss various financial scenarios and decide what course of action would be the best to follow.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget,Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Opportunity Cost,Substitute Good

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 Budget Odyssey
Students will begin the Budget Odyssey driving a minibus to Budget Balancing Bliss via a board game. Students will answer questions about income, fixed expenses, and variable expenses. Once the student reaches the end of the board game the player will be presented with a spreadsheet upon which they will calculate their net gain or loss.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Decision making, Choices, Budget, Income, Budget surplus/analysis

online Work, Earnings and Economics: Using 'Lyddie' by Katherine Paterson
To get started, the students will read Lyddie, a novel by Katherine Paterson. The novel is set mainly in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1840s. In Lowell the main character, 13-year-old Lyddie Worthen, works six days a week, from dawn until dusk, running weaving looms in a murky dust-and lintfilled factory, trying to save enough money to reunite her family. In reading and discussing this fine nov...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget,Choice,Decision Making,Economic Freedom,Economic Growth,Economic Wants,Human Resources,Incentive,Money Management,Opportunity Cost,Role of Government,Scarcity,Technological Changes,Borrower,Interest,Labor,Labor Union,Market Economy,Money,Resources,Special Interest Group,Standard of Living,Wants,Wage,Regulation,Savings,Savers

online Building a Better Budget
This lesson uses the Better Money Habits video How to Set a Budget and Stick to It to reinforce the concepts of budgeting introduced in Lesson 7: Managing Cash in Financial Fitness for Life, Grades 6-8.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget,Planned Spending,Savings,Unplanned Spending,Fixed Expenses,Goal

online A Penny Saved is a Penny at 4.7% Earned
There are lots of ways to receive income, and lots of ways to spend it. In this EconomicsMinute you will develop two budgets, or plans, to help you decide how to allocate your income. Assuming you do not love making dollar bill rings.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Banking,Budget,Choice,Decision Making,Income,Interest Rate,Opportunity Cost,Trade-off,Savings

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 Trish and Scott's Big Adventure: An Investigation of Regional Housing Costs
This lesson has students explore differences in regional housing costs, determine the percentage of gross income spent on housing, assess the impact of housing costs on a relocation decision and recognize wages and housing costs are prices.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Federal Reserve Structure,Housing,Incentive,Income,Mortgage,Price,Federal Reserve

online Hey, Get a Job!
The second of a two-part unit on income-earning endeavors, this lesson has students choose a job or business to engage in during non-school hours. They then devise a strategy of whom to target and how to begin pursuit of their chosen endeavor.  
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Advertising,Entrepreneurship,Income

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

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