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Virtual Economics

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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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 4: Lesson 13 - Establishing Credit
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
Lenders are in business to grant loans to individuals and businesses. However, the applicant's ability to repay a loan can mean the difference between profit and loss for the lender. To reduce risk, the lender assesses the applicant's credit-worthiness by reviewing his or her character, capacity for repayment, and collateral. In this lesson, the students will work through exercises to assess th...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: The three 'Cs' of credit, Character, Capacity, Collateral, The rights and responsibilities of borrowers, Borrowers

Theme 4: Lesson 12 - Cash or Credit?
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
Most students are aware of the variety of spending options available to consumers. Cash, checks, debit cards, and credit cards are often used by their parents; however, the students probably do not understand the implications of each. This lesson examines the advantages and disadvantages of various payment methods and focuses especially on credit usage. The students are challenged to calculate ...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Interest, Interest rate, Credit, Opportunity cost, Inflation

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

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,

Lesson 14 - Credit: Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students do an exercise that shows how credit can be their worst enemy. They learn how quickly credit card balances can grow and how long it can take to pay off a credit-card debt. They also learn that credit can be their best friend. Working in small groups, they consider seven scenarios and decide in each case whether it would be wise for the people involved to use credit. They discuss their...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Costs and benefits, Credit, Debt, Interest, Revolving credit

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

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 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 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

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 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 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 Calculating Simple Interest
How do banks calculate the amount of interest paid on a loan? In this lesson, students will view a Livescribe Pencast to learn how to find the dollar amount in interest that is due at maturity. This lesson uses different time periods such as days, months, and years in the calculation as well as varying interest rates.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Interest Rate,Interest,Principal,Simple Interest

online Getting and Using a Credit Card
Students will read the "Credit Counselor" guide to learn about the costs and benefits of credit cards; the C's of credit; credit history; credit application evaluation; and become familiar with some useful formulas. They will need to complete the reading in order to make the best choice from a series of credit profiles and to answer a series of questions during the simulation.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Credit, Interest rate

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 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 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 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

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