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Virtual Economics

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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 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

Lesson 12 - Charting a Budget
Mathematics & Economics: Connections for Life - 6-8
In this lesson, students learn what a budget is. They construct a pie chart to show the distribution of expenses in a budget. They learn about payroll deductions and determine the impact that payroll deductions have on a budget. Finally, they learn that the U.S. federal government uses tax revenue to pay for the goods and services it uses and provides. They construct graphs that represent the fede...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget, Taxes, Government revenue, Budget surplus, Government expenditures

Lesson 4 - Uncle Sam's Checkbook
Old MacDonald to Uncle Sam: Lesson Plans from Writers around the World
Students learn about the components of federal income taxes and expenditures. They also create and analyze political cartoons relevant to federal taxes and expenditures.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Income, Tax, Federal tax revenue, Payroll tax, Federal expenditures, Personal income tax,

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

Unit 1: Lesson 3 - What Results When People Improve Their Human Capital?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read 1998 U.S. labor-market data, compare education and income levels, then graph and analyze the data.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Entrepreneurs, Human capital, Income, Natural resources, Physical capital, Producer,

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,

Unit 2: Lesson 6 - What Results When People Can Produce More?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students become components of their circular flow model, representing the producer and consumer sectors, while making exchanges in resource and product markets. Productive resources, goods and services, consumer spending, and income move around the flow model. As more resources are added to the flow, more goods and services are produced, more income is earned, and consumers purchase more goods a...
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Circular flow model, Consumer, Consumer/household sector, Goods and services, Human capital, Income, Producer, Producer/business sector, Product market, Resource, Resource market, Revenue,

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

Lesson 9 - Deserted Island
Mathematics & Economics: Connections for Life - 6-8
This lesson is designed to introduce students to the idea that not all skills are valued equally in the marketplace. The students will explore these differences using their mathematics skills to create box and whisker plots. They will generate their own data on the value of skills by using a bidding activity. The students are given a budget and instructed to purchase the skills needed to survive o...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Budget, Labor market, Labor

Lesson 1 - Why Save?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
Following an introduction that defines saving, the students discuss the idea of "paying yourself first" and the reasons why people save. After reporting on their small-group discussions, the students simulate the accumulation of simple interest and compound interest. The lesson concludes with students calculating both simple interest and, using the Rule of 72, the amount of time it takes savings t...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Compound interest, Consumption, Income, Rule of 72, Saving, Simple interest

Lesson 3 - Baby-sitting Wages and Movie Prices
Mathematics & Economics: Connections for Life - 6-8
Through an analysis of data for baby-sitting wages (a price for labor) and the price of movie tickets since 1945, this lesson introduces the students to the idea that prices for goods, services, and resources change over time. The lesson provides the foundation for lessons on inflation and its impact on purchasing power over time. (See Lesson 4.) Students plot and analyze data to determine correla...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Income, Price, Wage

Theme 5: Lesson 16 - Choosing and Using a Checking Account
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
Checking accounts offer a menu of features along with a menu of costs. In this lesson, the students learn the fundamentals of maintaining a checking account by examining electronic banking methods, check writing, and entries in a check register. The students examine the features and costs of a checking account to prepare them for the time when they acquire checking accounts of their own.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Credit union, Savings and loan, Checking account, ATM card, Debit card, Checkbook register, Savings

Lesson 4 - What Is a Stock?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students work in small groups that represent households. Each household answers mathematics and economics questions. For each correct answer, a household earns shares of stock. At the end of the game, the groups that answered all questions correctly receive a certificate good for 150 shares of stock in The Economics and Mathematics Knowledge Company. They also receive dividends based on their ...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Dividend, Income, Saving, Stocks, Stockholders

Unit 1: Lesson 2 - How Can I Improve My Human Capital?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read about the experiences of Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal 600 years ago. He organized a way to improve human capital, enabling him to accomplish his goals and enabling others to seek greater economic opportunities.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Human capital, Navigation, Physical capital, Specialist, Technology,

Lesson 5: Mystery Almanac
The Wide World of Trade
Working in groups, students participate in an activity to identify countries from around the world. Based on what they learn about these countries, students complete an Information Resources Chart. The goal is to have students recognize what information supplied about the countries can tell them about the countries' resource endowments and standards of living.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Productive resources, Economic system, Natural resources, Human resources, Capital goods, Human capital, Investment in human capital, Gross domestic product, Per capita gross domestic product,

Lesson 1 - What Are Productive Resources?
Middle School World Geography: Focus on Economics
In this lesson, the students become economic detectives and try to determine how economists categorize productive resources. Working in groups, the students sort cards into categories they create and then specify the characteristics of each category. Given a new set of characteristics, the students divide their cards into the three types of productive resources: natural resources, capital goods (r...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Productive resources, Natural resources, Human resources, Capital goods (resources), Scarcity

Lesson 7: Mutual (and Comparative) Advantages
The Wide World of Trade
Using numerical examples and bar graphs, students see why it benefits two countries to specialize in the production of one of two products and then trade with each other, even if one country has the resources and technology to produce more of either good than the other country. The last section of this lesson can be used as a challenge activity.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Exchange, Specialization, Opportunity cost, Comparative advantage,

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 4: Lesson 10 - What Are the Advantages of Working with Others to Produce?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read historical fiction set in 1855 in the Oregon Territory. The story illustrates the results of people working interdependently. The students identify ways in which the characters in the story worked together.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Division of labor, Homestead, Human capital, Interdependence, Produce, Specialization,

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 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 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 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 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 Checking Out Checking Accounts
This lesson uses a Better Money Habits poster to help students examine the features of checking accounts.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Transfer Payments,Interest,Bank,Check,Withdrawal,Automated Teller Machine (ATM),Bank Service Charges,Checking Account,Overdraft

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 Constitution Costs
This lesson helps students understand the basic services provided for Americans in the United States Constitution and the necessity of a system of taxation to fund those services. Students will debate the pros and cons of having governments fund and provide particular services.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Aggregate Demand (AD),Budget,Role of Government,Taxation

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

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