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Virtual Economics

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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

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

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 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 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 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

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,

Chapter 3: Lesson 16 - The Big Piggy Bank Mystery
The Great Economic Mysteries Book: A Guide to Teaching Economic Reasoning, Grades 4-8
Students describe an economic mystery and discuss various explanations of it. They use economic principles and true/false clues in reasoning out a solution to the mystery.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Profit, Saving and Investing

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

Lesson 5 - Reading the Financial Pages: In Print and Online
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students learn how to read and understand information presented in the financial pages of newspapers and online sources. Working in pairs, they examine entries for stocks, mutual funds and corporate bonds. They participate in a scavenger hunt for financial information, using a local newspaper. They learn how to follow stocks online.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Closing price, Dividend, Net asset value, Percentage change in fund value, Price/earnings ratio (P/E ratio), Stock symbol, Trading volume, Yield

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

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 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 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 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

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

Lesson 8 - How to Buy and Sell Stocks and Bonds
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
In this lesson the students learn about the financial markets in which stocks and bonds are bought and sold. They read about the high transaction costs that individual investors would experience if there were no financial markets. They perform a play that illustrates how an individual stock transaction is made in an organized financial market. Finally, the students discuss the options available fo...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Bond, Broker, Dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), Financial markets, Investor, Stocks

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

Theme 3: Lesson 8 - Who Pays and Who Receives?
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, students learn that banks are businesses and, as such, seek to make a profit. One way banks do this is by charging borrowers a higher rate of interest than the interest that is paid to savers. Students discover that three factors affect how money grows: amount deposited, interest rate, and time. Students calculate interest--both simple and compound--and they formulate a generali...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Interest, Interest rate, Simple interest, Compound interest, Compounding, Opportunity cost, Rule of 72,

ONLINE LESSONS:

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 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 Saving and Investing Blitz
The Saving and Investment Blitz engages the student in a series of timed questions that will test their understanding of saving and investment as well as their ability to perform calculations related to the time value of money.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Saving, Investing, 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 Transportation: They Say We Had a Revolution (Part 2)
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 the advancements in automobiles, roads, airlines and airports.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Exports,Gross Domestic Product (GDP),Incentive,Inventors,Markets,Price,Specialization,Technological Changes,Benefit,Costs,Imports,Investment,Profit,Innovation

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

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 Meeting Financial Goals
In this lesson, students learn several basic steps to help them understand the importance of saving to meet future personal financial goals.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Decision Making,Alternative,Savings

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