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Virtual Economics

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Theme 2: Lesson 5 - Why? How? Where?
Financial Fitness for Life: Steps to Financial Fitness - Grades 3-5 - Teacher Guide
This lesson provides some practical activities to extend students' understanding about how to make saving choices. Children set a goal, determine a strategy for saving, and decide how they will save to best achieve that goal. They can also learn the basics of using savings accounts.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Incentives, Opportunity cost, Saving, Saving goal,

Lesson 10: Saving and Investing - Planning For the Future
Play Dough Economics
In this lesson, students will learn that individuals either save or consumer after-tax income; that saving has an opportunity cost - giving up current consumption; that consuming has an opportunity cost - giving up greater future consumption; that savings which are invested in the production or purchase of capital result in increased productivity, and create the possibility of greater future incom...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Saving, Investment, Income, Consumption, Opportunity cost, Choice, Productivity

Theme 4: Lesson 14 - Managing Money
Financial Fitness for Life: Steps to Financial Fitness - Grades 3-5 - Teacher Guide
A budget is frightening to many people. It brings thoughts of sacrifice or giving up things they want. It is seldom seen as a helpful tool for making better decisions about the things they want, including financial success. Although the amount of income to be managed at any given time may seem small, a family with $35,000 in annual income will manage to earn over $1.4 million over 40 years. No...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Income, Expenses, Saving, Costs, Benefits

Theme 4: Lesson 15 - It's a Balancing Act
Financial Fitness for Life: Steps to Financial Fitness - Grades 3-5 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, the students use manipulatives to learn about income, expenses (variable, fixed), and budgeting.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Income, Expenses, Fixed expenses, Variable expenses, Budget, Human resources, Wage, Taxes, Saving,

Lesson 6: Work Pays
Resources A to Z
Discussing parent jobs and reading a story help students learn about human resources. Students work at home and produce goods and services by helping their families. They receive beans from the teacher as income for their work. This experience allows students to link the idea that income is received for work performed.
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Human Resources, Goods, Services, Income

Lesson 7: Widget Production
Master Curriculum Guides in Economics: Teaching Strategies - 5-6
In order to produce an output of goods or services, a firm needs inputs or factors of production. Businesses must purchase natural, human, and capital resources. Entrepreneurship is provided by the owner or manager of the firm. These inputs can be combined in different ways to produce the firm's product.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Factors of production, Productivity, Increasing productivity, Opportunity cost, Division of labor, Specialization, Investment,

Theme 3: Lesson 7 - To Choose is to Refuse
Financial Fitness for Life: Steps to Financial Fitness - Grades 3-5 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, students use the concept of opportunity cost to help decide which wants to satisfy with their limited income. Practicing decision making helps build consumer skills and develop an understanding of the importance of good decision making.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Wants, Income, Opportunity cost, Consumer spending decisions, Goods and services, Wage, Profit, Productive resources,

Lesson 6: Circles within Circles
Master Curriculum Guides in Economics: Teaching Strategies - 3-4
A market is a setting in which people buy and sell goods and services and resources. A market economy is an economic system in which most goods, services, and resources are exchanged by private households and businesses. Prices are determined by buyers and sellers making exchanges in private markets. Americans live in a market-oriented economy.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Goods, Services, Resources, Market, Income, Revenue, Consumers, Producers, Profit,

Lesson 4: Why Do People Go to School?
Learning, Earning and Investing: Grades 4-5 Lessons
The students look at a simple chart relating education level with average annual income. From the data the students generalize that people with more education usually earn more income. They learn that human capital refers to the knowledge, skills, talent, health, values and experience that people bring to the workplace. Working in small groups, the students receive information about the budgets of...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Budget, Expenses, Fixed expenses, Human capital, Income, Variable expenses

Theme 2: Lesson 4 - The Grasshopper and the Ant
Financial Fitness for Life: Steps to Financial Fitness - Grades 3-5 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, children use an adaptation of Aesop's fable, "The Grasshopper and the Ant," to learn about the trade-off between satisfying wants today and planning for the future. Children use the fable to examine their own behaviors and decisions about saving. They learn how interest provides an incentive to save. Writing their own fable provides the children with a creative way to express th...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Opportunity cost, Trade-offs, Saving, Interest,

Lesson 32: Choice Making
Exploring the Marketplace: The Community Publishing Company - Teacher Resource Manual
Once the books have been sold, the class decides what to do with the money left over (if any) after paying back the loan or credit and any other expenses incurred in the business. The teacher emphasizes that the money left over is payment to the class for all its hard work in the company. The students consider what choices are available to them, for such as charity or to buy more or new educatio...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Choice, Credit, Interest, Investment, Loan, Opportunity cost, Profit,

Lesson 3: What Happens When a Bank Makes a Loan?
Learning, Earning and Investing: Grades 4-5 Lessons
The students play roles in a simulation activity designed to show how bank loans made to individuals can have an impact on others in the community. Then, working in small groups, the students analyze other hypothetical loans, using flow charts or other diagrams to describe the probable impact of each.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Bank, Income, Interest, Loan, Profit

Lesson 2: Savings Accounts and U.S. Savings Bonds
Learning, Earning and Investing: Grades 4-5 Lessons
People who want to save money can do so in various ways. One method is to use a savings account; another is to buy U. S. Savings Bonds. In this lesson, the students learn about these two methods of saving.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Decimal, Face value, Interest, Interest rate, Percent, Savings account, U.S. Savings Bond

Lesson 15: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler
Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature
Eleven-year-old Claudia Kincaid feels that too much responsibility has been placed on her at home. To make her family appreciate her more, she decides to run away from home. Claudia persuades her younger brother, Jamie, to accompany her on a trip to a most unlikely place -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Scarcity, Savings, Price, Inflation, Goods and Services, Opportunity Cost, Interdependence

Lesson 2 - Folding Our Way to Productivity
Roosters to Robots: Lesson Plans from Writers around the World
Students role-play workers producing origami cups. They participate in two production rounds, one without training and one with training. Students
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Productive resources, Income, Productivity

Lesson 14: Inflation - When All Prices Rise
Play Dough Economics
In this lesson, students will learn that inflation is an increase in the general price level of goods and services caused by the supply of money increasing relative to the supply of goods and services; that an incease in money income does not necessarily mean an increase in one's ability to acquire goods and services.
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Inflation, Price, Goods and services, Income

Lesson 4: Arthur's Pet Business
Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature
To prove he is responsible enough to own a pet and to repay a debt of money to his sister, Aruther decides to start a pet business - providing pet care service to community members. He advertises by putting up signs around the neighborhood. Business is very good. Arthur not only earns a wage (from which he pays his debt), but also gains a pet when one of his "clients" has puppies under his bed.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Goods, Income, Choices, Services, Wage, Entrepreneur

Lesson 12: The Tortilla Factory
Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature
The Tortilla Factory is a simple, yet enjoyable way to introduce the concept of production to your students. The book very simply explains the process of producing tortillas, from collecting the productive resources to marketing the final product. Students will learn the differences between the natural resources, capital resources, and human resources used in production.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Natural Resources, Capital Resources, Human Capital, Interdependence, Productive Resources, Human Resources, Investment

Lesson 13: A Chair for My Mother
Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature
When all their possessions were burned in a fire, a little girl, her mother, and grandmother save all their extra money to buy a special chair. The characters make choices to save in order to obtain something important to them.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Human Resources, Savings, Scarcity, Wages, Consumers, Opportunity Cost

Lesson 3: Dandy Dollars Takes a Trip
Master Curriculum Guides in Economics: Teaching Strategies - 5-6
A market (price) system coordinates economic activity through markets. There are hundreds of thousands of different markets that are interrelated and usually dependent upon one another. The circular flow of economic activity is a model of the flow of goods and services and resources in the marketplace.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Goods, Services, Resources, Market, Circular flow of economic activity, Income, Revenue,

ONLINE LESSONS:

online One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
The picture book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, written by Kate Smith Milway, takes place in Africa. Here in a Ghanan village, young Kojo cannot afford to go to school after the death of his father. His resourceful mother takes out a small loan and with a few leftover coins he buys a chicken. Soon he is selling eggs and with the profit slowly acquires a large flock. Kojo is a...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Entrepreneurship,Income,Money,Profit,Borrow,Save

online The ABCs of Saving
We save money to get things we can’t afford to buy now. Saving for the future requires patience but it can be worth it when we get what we want the most. Successful savings depends on three elements which are presented to students as the ABCs of saving. A is for Aim: setting a goal. B is for Bank: creating a place to put savings. C is for Coins and currency: making saving money a habit. Stud...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Money Management,Opportunity Cost,Trade-off,Savings,Trade-offs among Goals

online Money Comes and Goes
Students read two online stories that introduce them to the elements of a budget and show that a successful budget balances money coming in (income) with money going out (expenses and savings). Follow-up activities point out the value of a budget. Students learn that a budget can help us make sure we buy the things we really need and want. A budget can also help us save for things that we can&rsqu...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Budget,Income,Savings

online Clickety Clack, Let's Keep Track!
This lesson will show students the importance of keeping track of their savings.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Banking,Budget,Choice,Economic Security,Functions of Money,Money Management,Savings

online Beatrice's Goat
This lesson from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' EconLowdown site teaches students what it means to save and reach savings goals through the book Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Income,Opportunity Cost,Saving

online Big Banks, Piggy Banks
When choosing a place to put their money, people consider how safe their money will be, how easy it is to access, and whether it will earn more money. Students explore how well different savings places achieve these objectives. Students learn that people who don’t want to carry money with them or keep it at home often choose to put their money in a savings account at a bank or credit union. ...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Banking,Choice,Decision Making,Money Management,Interest,Savings

online A Chair for My Mother
In the story, A Chair for My Mother, a little girl and her family save money in a jar to buy a chair after their furniture is destroyed in a fire. In this lesson, students will learn that characters in the book are human resources who save part of the income they earn. Students will identify other human resources and state how the mental and physical work of those human resources allows them to ea...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Human Resources,Income,Saving

online Economic Spotter: Resources During World War II
In World War II pennies were made of steel and zinc instead of copper and women were working at jobs that men had always been hired to do. Why? Because during war times, scarcity forces many things to change!
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Capital Resources,Choice,Human Resources,Natural Resources,Opportunity Cost,Productive Resources,Scarcity,Technological Changes,Human Capital,Investment

online Specialists Light Up Our Lives!
Peppe and his family moved to America to pursue the American dream. His mother has passed away, his father is ill,and all the children need to find work to help provide for basic essentials. Peppe is excited to find a job, only to be told by his dad that it is not a job he should be proud of. This lesson will challenge students to consider specialists in the community and the valuable goods and s...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Goods,Human Resources,Income,Interdependence,Specialization,Services

online The Grasshopper and the Ant
Understanding the concept of opportunity cost is critical for good decision making. The ability to identify the opportunity cost—the highest valued alternative that must be given up when another option is chosen—helps people to assess their alternatives.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Economic Wants,Opportunity Cost,Trade-off,Interest,Savings,Spend

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