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Virtual Economics

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Theme 1: Lesson 1 - How to Really Be a Millionaire
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
This lesson is designed to get students interested in personal finance. Financial planning may seem dull and laborious, but finding out how to become a millionaire is an activity that tends to stir up considerable interest. This lesson shows the students that they are unlikely to achieve wealth without self-discipline. Achieving personal wealth involves planning and making sound choices, such a...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: money management, saving, investing, compound interest

Theme 3: Lesson 9 - There Is No Free Lunch in Investing
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
Risk is inherent in all investments. In investing, there are risks you cannot control. However, other risks can be controlled. The key is to develop a risk-reward ratio with which you are comfortable. The higher the risk, the greater the potential reward. This is why there is no free lunch in investing. In this lesson, students learn about five types of risk and then compare the risks and re...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Money management, Real vs. Nominal, Risk, Investing, Savers, Saving, Investment

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 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

Unit 7: Lesson 2 - Where Did All the Income Go?
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
Students discuss an economic mystery and study the definition of money. Class discussion follows a role play activity, and students identify the consequences of additional saving on income when no other changes take place in the economy.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Income, Saving, Interdependence, Aggregate demand, Aggregate supply,

Section 2: Financial Institutions
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants identify the advantages and disadvantages of using financial services from alternative financial institutions and services from mainstream banks. Participants identify the services provided by mainstream financial institutions including banks, credit unions, brokerage firms, and so forth. Participants identify insurance (including homeowner's, renter's, health, and auto insurance) ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic wants, Goods, Services, Entrepreneurs, Productive resources (natural capital and human resources), Work skills (human capital), Income

Section 1: Income and Choices
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will understand the importance of spending less than they receive. Participants will understand how competition based on productivity determines the wages and salaries that people receive. Participants will analyze a list of expenditures and make recommendations on how to begin a budget.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Income, Gift money, Work skills (human capital), workers (producers),

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

Unit 3: Lesson 17 - Creating and Using a Budget
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
This lesson focuses on using budgeting to maximize consumer satisfaction. It describes a flexible view of budgets, linking them to markets and market information, and demonstrates how and why budgets should be reviewed and modified often.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget, Choice, Diminishing marginal utility, Income, Marginal analysis, Price, Substitute, Utility

Lesson 4 - Why Renter's Insurance?
Virtual Economics: Insurance Lessons
This lesson focuses on a question that many of your students will face in college and/or in their first job as they live in apartments: Should they buy renter's insurance? Many students do not know what renter's insurance covers or even that it is available.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Cash-value coverage, Deductible, Depreciation, Landlord, Liability, Renter's insurance, Replacement-cost coverage, Tenant,

Lesson 10: Why Are Some Nations Wealthy?
Focus: Economic Systems
Students work in pairs to examine data from several nations regarding size, natural resources, and population. Using these data they make predictions about which nations are likely to be below, at, or above the world average of per capita Gross Domsetic Product (GDP). GDP is the basic economic measure of national income, so per capita GDP is a key measure of a nation's per person income. Studen...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Growth, Productivity, Property Rights, Saving and Investment, Physical Capital and Human Capital, Natural Resources, Trade

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

Section 4: A Roof Over Your Head
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will understand the benefits and drawbacks of homeownership. Participants will understand the process of buying a home, from before house-hunting to closing and occupancy. Participants will understand the risks of speculating with money being saved toward a down payment and the risks presented by refinancing with predatory lenders.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Alternatives, Benefits, Costs, Choice, Decisions, Opportunity cost, Spending, Saving

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

Section 6: The Basics of a Market Economy
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will identify the characteristics of people who build wealth. Participants will recognize the primary features of a market economy including voluntary exchange, private ownership, a price system, the profit motive, competition, and financial institutions.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Scarcity, Choice, Opportunity cost, Banking, Deposits, Withdrawals, Saving, Spending, Money,

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

Section 5: Strategies for Wealth Building
Your Credit Counts Challenge: Trainer's Guide
Participants will understand the concept of net wealth and how the decisions they make can cause their own net wealth to increase or decrease. Participants will explain why an early start in saving and investing increases a household's ability to build its wealth. Participants will understand that buying and holding financial assets leads to a greater long-term net wealth than frequent trading o...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic wants, Choices, Opportunity cost, Money, Spending, Saving, Savings accounts, Banks, Deposits, Withdrawals,

Lesson 8: GDP and Life Expectancy
Geography: Focus on Economics
Students construct choropleth maps based on a number of economic and social variables, then analyze the relationships among the variables. They describe the characteristics of countries with high and low GDP per capita, identify regions of high and low GDP per capita, and generate hypotheses about possible consequences of efforts to improve the health of people in Africa.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choropleth Maps, Gross Domestic Product Per Capita, Life Expectancy, Infant Mortality, Investment, Human Capital, Positive Relationship, Negative Relationship,

Unit 7: Lesson 43 - Why Are Some Nations Wealthy?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students work in groups to examine data from several nations regarding size, natural resources, and population. Using these data, they try to identify the nations and predict whether each nation is rich or poor. Students rank the nations from richest to poorest. After the mystery nations are revealed, students discuss economists' findings about the factors that contribute most to long-term econ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic growth, Economic development, Natural resources, Physical capital, Productivity, Property rights, Saving and investment policy, Trade

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

ONLINE LESSONS:

online Opportunity Cost
Consumers are faced with tough choices because so many innovative and exciting products and services are available. Therefore, engraining a decision-making process that includes considering of opportunity cost is necessary to shape future consumer behavior.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Choice,Consumers,Decision Making,Interest Rate,Investing,Opportunity Cost,Saving,Benefit,Costs,Interest,Money,Wants,Savings,Save,Savers

online What is a Stock?
The students work in small groups that represent households. Each household answers questions about stocks and stock markets. 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 Stock Knowledge Company. They also receive dividends based on their shares. Those w...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Income,Saving,Capital Gain,Dividend,Mutual Fund,Stock

online Invest in Yourself
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 a giv...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Income,Opportunity Cost,Human Capital,Investment

online The Five Stages of Investing
The practice of saving and investing is definitely a good thing, but there are many ways to save and invest. In thinking about the options, it is important to consider the degree of risk involved and the potential for return. Typically, the higher the risk, the higher the potential return. The key is to work up to the riskier investments, where you stand to earn the most money, but only after you...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Economic Security,Investing,Money Management,Benefit,Money

online Mobile Phones Matter
Most high school students are comfortable using mobile phones. Many high school students use smartphones, such as iPhones, which are becoming part of our culture. It is also becoming more cost effective to use the broad range of smartphone services to cut down on other costs such as watches, games, and other accessory items. According to Maximilian Schmeiser of the Federal Reserve, the Center for ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Banking,Budget,Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Opportunity Cost,Trade-off,Benefit,Insurance

online Wages and Me
Students explore the reasons for differences in the wages for several occupations. Then students are guided through the Bureau of Labor Statistics website to find information about their potential careers and wage rates nationally and in their own states.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Demand,Income,Supply,Human Capital,Investment

online FRED and the Federal Budget Interactive Lesson
Students will use a Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) data dashboard to calculate budget deficits, surpluses, how much federal budgets in certain budget years added to the total public debt, and gross federal debt as percent of GDP. Using the information they have collected, students will answer questions requiring analysis and inference.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Budget Deficit,Gross Domestic Product (GDP),Trade-off,Investment,Productivity,Budget Surplus,Consumption,Debt,Recession,Total Cost (TC),Total Revenue (TR),Revenue

online Balancing the Federal Budget
ESSENTIAL DILEMMA When, if ever, should the nation prioritize balancing the federal budget?
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Gross Domestic Product (GDP),Surplus,Trade-off,Investment,Debt,Expenses,Revenue

online Taxation and the National Debt
ESSENTIAL DILEMMA Is there a fair and efficient way to fund and maintain the public services we want?
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Budget Deficit,Incentive,Taxation,Costs,Investment,Debt,Utility,Capital Gain,Revenue

online The Early 1980s: A Tough Time For Home Builders and Mortgage Bankers
Have you ever thought of how much it might cost you to finance the purchase of a home? The home's purchase price is likely to be many times the yearly income of the typical household. If families waited until they had accumulated enough savings to use cash to pay for a home, they would be denied the benefits of homeownership for many years. Instead, most families go to a mortgage banker o...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Banking,Credit,Federal Reserve Structure,Housing,Inflation,Interest Rate,Mortgage,Deflation,Federal Reserve

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