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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 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 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

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

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 4 - How Many Will You Buy?
Focus: Middle School Economics
In this lesson students participate in an activity to establish a demand schedule for a product. They discuss the relationship between price and quantity, graph demand, and conduct a market survey.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Price, Quantity Demanded, Demand

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 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

Unit 3: Lesson 8 - Can I Use Physical Capital to Produce More Things People Want?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Groups of students form companies to produce five-pointed stars. Workers in the four companies use different combinations of physical capital in production. Students demonstrate ways in which using physical capital improves their ability to produce goods and services. Students learn how improvements in the quality of physical capital affect the quality of production and the good being produced.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Average cost, Consumer, Cost, Fixed cost, Physical capital, Price, Producer, Production, Profit, Variable cost,

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 18 - How Are Stock Prices Determined?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students participate in a stock market simulation that shows how the price of a share of stock is determined in a competitive market. Then they analyze what happened in the simulation to learn how stock prices are discovered through supply and demand and not conspiratorially set by authorities.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Demand, Equilibrium price, Shift in demand or supply, Shortage, Supply, Surplus

Lesson 31: Selling The News Journal
The International News Journal, Inc.
In this lesson students learn how to become good sales people by role playing a sales speech. They discuss the steps to follow and prepare to sell their journals.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Advertise, Demand, Market, Market survey, Supply

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

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 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 1 - Happy Deal?
Mathematics & Economics: Connections for Life - 6-8
In this lesson, the students learn about currencies used in selected countries. They compare the prices of a Big Mac© in different countries and convert the prices into U.S. dollars, using exchange rates. The students determine in which country a Big Mac© is cheapest (a Happy Deal) and most expensive, in terms of U.S. dollars. Finally, the students calculate the percentage of daily incom...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Gross domestic product (GDP), Price, Exchange rates, Currency

Unit 1: Lesson 2 - You in the Economy
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students participate in a consumer-testing activity to learn that they weight costs and benefits when they make economic decisions.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefit, Consumer, Cost, Economy, Exchange, Market,

Unit 2: Lesson 4 - How Can I Make Decisions About My Future?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
In the mid-1700s thousands of Europeans traveled to North America seeking adventure, freedom, and economic opportunity. The risk of deciding to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in a wooden ship was great, but the potential rewards were even greater.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Alternative, Benefit, Choice, Cost, Emigrate, Immigrate, Indenture, Primogeniture, Risk,

Lesson 9 - What Is a Stock Market?
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students are introduced to the key characteristics of a market economy through a brief simulation and a discussion of several examples drawn from their own experiences. Then they learn about differences among the three major stock markets in the United States and place sample stocks in each of the three markets using this knowledge.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Characteristics of a market, Market, Primary market, Secondary market, Stock market

ONLINE LESSONS:

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 Collecting for Fun . . . and Profit?
Art, baseball cards, coins, comic books, dolls, jewelry and stamps are just a few examples of the many things people collect. While some people collect for fun — others hope to profit. In this lesson, students explore how supply and demand influence the price of collectibles. They also evaluate speculation in collectibles as an investment option. They learn that collectibles are one ...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Demand,Investing,Price,Supply,Investment,Risk

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 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 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 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 Did You Get the Message?
Advertising is the primary tool used by businesses to tell consumers about the goods and services they sell in the marketplace. Businesses also use advertising to try to convince consumers to buy what they are selling. Advertisements do this by pointing out how consumers will benefit if they buy a product. These benefits are called incentives. In this lesson, these two basic functions of advertisi...
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Advertising,Competition,Consumer Economics,Markets

online Be An Ad Detective
Every day, students are bombarded by advertising. They cannot escape it. But marketers realize that many people—especially young people—are becoming very good at tuning ads out. Businesses thus are becoming more creative in their communication with consumers. In this lesson, the students assume the role of detectives searching for the new places where advertisers are promoting themselv...
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Advertising,Competition,Markets

online Believe it or Not?
Advertisements can tell consumers about prices and other information that may help them in the decisions they make about what to buy. But students also should know that ads are slanted by sellers to show a product in the best light. This lesson reveals to students how advertisers use words and images to make goods and services look their best. To protect consumers and make sure that competition...
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Advertising,Competition,Decision Making,Maintaining Competition,Markets,Role of Government,Regulation

online The Price of Gasoline: What's Behind It?
In this lesson, students investigate the variables that contribute to the cost of gasoline. They learn that while OPEC nations do influence the price of oil and thus the price of gasoline, other factors also influence the price.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Demand,Factors of Production,Markets,Price,Production,Profit Motive,Supply,Law of Demand,Profit,Taxes,Monopolies

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