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Virtual Economics

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Lesson 12 - Building Wealth over the Long Term
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students are introduced to the case of Charlayne, a woman who becomes, accidentally, a millionaire. Charlayne's success, the students learn, was unexpected, but not a miracle. It can be explained by three widely understood rules for building wealth over the long term: saving early, buying and holding, and diversifying. The lesson uses Charlayne's decisions to illustrate each of these rules. It...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Compound interest, Diversification, Forms of saving and investing, Reward, Risk

Lesson 17 - How Financial Institutions Help Businesses Grow
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students read two case studies about the financing of businesses, contrasting modern approaches with approaches from the 1870s. Using transparencies, the students discuss the advantages of the corporate form of business organization over sole proprietorships and partnerships, while also discussing modern financial institutions that help American business firms grow.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Bond, Corporation, Federal Reserve System, Investment bank, Limited liability, Partnership, Sole proprietorship, Stock, Venture capital

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

Lesson 11 - Financial Institutions in the U.S. Economy
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students participate in a brief trading activity to illustrate the role institutions play in bringing savers and borrowers together, thus channeling savings to investment. The students discuss financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, and they participate in a simulation activity to help them understand primary and secondary stock markets and bond markets.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Debt financing, Economic growth, Economic investment, Equity financing, Financial institutions, Financial investment, Interest, Primary markets, Secondary markets

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

Lesson 13 - An Island Economy
Focus: Middle School Economics
Students participate in a "readers' theater" play too learn about gross domestic product.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Gross Domestic Product, Consumer Goods, Investment, Government expenditure, Exports, Imports

Lesson 23 - Investing Involves Decision Making
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
This lesson provides an overall review and an opportunity for students to apply many of the concepts stressed in earlier lessons. The students examine different sorts of risk that come with investments. They are introduced to a fivestep decision-making model. After practicing with it, they apply the model in a simulation activity in which they act as financial advisors, offering financial advice i...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Bonds, Capital gain, Certificate of deposit, Dividend, Diversification, Liquidity, Money market account, Mutual funds, Principal, Rate of return, Risk, Savings account, Stocks

Lesson 16 - What We've Learned
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
This lesson features a game in which the students review key vocabulary words and concepts presented in earlier lessons. The game is called Flyswatter Review. The teacher divides the class into two teams. Using transparencies, the teacher projects financial terms from the visuals onto a screen or wall. The teams compete to select the correct definition.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Stock Market, Stock, Mutual Fund, Risk, Liquidity, Liquidity Risk

Theme 3: Lesson 11 - Saving and Investing Are Risky Business
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, the students learn that savings and investment instruments carry various types of risk. Students learn about the risks of inflation, interest rate fluctuation, and financial loss. With any type of investment, there is at least one kind of risk. They also learn that risk must be measured against reward.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Opportunity cost, Inflation risk, Interest rate risk, Risk of financial loss, Savings account, Certificate of deposit, Money market deposit account, U.S. Savings Bond,

Lesson 2 - Investors and Investments
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
In this lesson the students explore different types of investments, some of which are unconventional, in order to grasp the basic idea that investment involves trading off present benefits for future satisfaction. The students also apply the criteria of risk, return and liquidity to define more precisely the meaning of investing.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Investing, Investment, Liquidity, Return, Risk

Lesson 7 - What Are Mutual Funds?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students form class investment clubs that work much in the way mutual funds do. They invest $3,000 (300 shares at $10 a share) in up to six stocks. One year later they revalue their shares and determine whether a share in their class investment clubs has increased or decreased in value. Finally, they read about mutual funds and learn that the concept behind mutual funds is similar to the conce...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Diversification, Liquidity, Load, Mutual fund, Net asset value, Risk and reward

Lesson 6 - What Is a Bond?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
In this lesson the students learn what bonds are and how bonds work. They learn the basic terminology related to bonds and participate in a simulation activity aimed at showing that bonds are certificates of indebtedness, similar to an IOU note. Finally, the students explore credit ratings and calculate average coupon rates for various bond ratings in order to determine the relationship between ra...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Bond, Bond rating, Coupon, Coupon bond, Coupon rate, Default, Face value, Maturity date, Par value, Risk, Zero-coupon bond

Lesson 15 - Savers And Borrowers
Focus: Middle School Economics
In this lesson, students encounter difficulties in lending and borrowing. They identify financial institutions as effective intermediaries in this process. In closure they discuss the role credit can have on the growth of a community.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Saving, Interest, Financial intermediaries

Theme 3: Lesson 9 - Stocks and Mutual Funds
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, the student examine the nature of stocks including how stocks are issued, differences in their levels of risk, and the differences in possible returns. The students also compare and contrast stocks with various savings plans provided by financial institutions. The nature of mutual funds, which allows diversification and reduction of risk, will also be covered.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Equity, Stocks, Mutual funds, Risk, Diversification, Stock market

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

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 21 - Lessons from History: Stock Market Crashes
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students analyze information about the stock market crash of 1929 and the stock market crash of 1987. They use the information to make posters about the crashes, highlighting what happened during and after the crashes, causes of the crashes and the role of the Federal Reserve in each crash. After presenting their posters to the class, the students discuss similarities and differences between t...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Causes and effects of the stock market crash of 1929, Causes and effects of the stock market crash of 1987, Federal Reserve, Monetary policy, Supply and demand

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 2 - Why Do Free Goods Disappear Quickly?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The teacher conducts a class discussion focused on how people tend to take better care of things they own and why they may be careless with things they do not own.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Incentives, Private property

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

ONLINE LESSONS:

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 Worker Safety - The Triangle Fire Legacy
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 was a turning point for employee health and safety protections in the U.S. Students investigate the Triangle tragedy and how its impact is still felt today. Students identify eerie parallels between the Triangle Fire and more recent workplace events with safety implications – recent complaints of Wal-Mart employee lock-ins, a deadly fire in a No...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Role of Government,Benefit,Costs,Labor,Labor Union,Special Interest Group

online How Global is Your Portfolio?
This engaging lesson challenges students to connect economics and geography as they investigate global companies in the stock market.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Stock Market,Savings,Economic Institutions

online A Moo-ving Experience
Students gain an understanding about non-profit organizations and the role they play in our economy. Students then learn about a relatively new type of fundraising effort, known as CowParade©, for non- profit organizations that has been successful in a number of cities around the world. Students adapt CowParade for their own community.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Role of Government,Scarcity,Communities and Cities

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 Climbing the Savings Mountain
Students discover how saving money can be compared to a mountain climb. The climb can be fast or slow, safe or hazardous, scenic or thrilling. You will find out that there is more than one way to get to the top!
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Banking,Inflation,Interest Rate,Borrower,Deflation,Interest,Savings,Savers

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 I Can Be an Entrepreneur
Learners are given advice on how they can earn extra money by becoming an entrepreneur. After investigating several web pages that offer examples of what other people their age have done to earn money, students identify three money-making ideas for themselves such as: considering what they would enjoy doing, what they do well, what people are willing to buy, the need to set a price that will be pr...
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Accounting Profit,Advertising,Business,Entrepreneurship,Goods,Price,Production,Costs,Entrepreneur,Profit,Risk,Services,Accounting Loss

online Transportation: They Say We Had a Revolution (Part 1)
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 improvement...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Economic Growth,Incentive,Inventors,Markets,Non-price Determinants,Price,Role of Government,Specialization,Supply,Technological Changes,Costs,Determinants of Supply,Gains from Trade,Investment,Standard of Living,Transaction Costs,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

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