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Virtual Economics

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Unit 4: Lesson 20 - Why Helping Yourself Helps Others
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding greed and self-interest. They use economic reasoning to analyze the mystery and reach a tentative explanation.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Competition, Economic system, Future consequences, Incentives, Market economy, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Unit 5: Lesson 24 - Government and the Environment
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding the failure of the Endangered Species Act. They are introduced to the concepts of market failure and government failure. Using the Guide to Economic Reasoning, they focus on positive and negative externalities in analyzing the Endangered Species Act as an example of government failure.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic system, Externalities, Future consequences, Government failure, Incentives, Market failure, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Unit 3: Lesson 15 - Why Do Some People Earn More Than Others?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding differences in income. They use the Guide to Economic Reasoning to analyze the problem and reach a tentative solution.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic system, Future consequences, Human capital, Incentives, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Economic Reasoning: Why Are We A Nation of Couch Potatoes?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine visuals to identify an economic mystery regarding exercise and diet. They use the Guide to Economic Reasoning to analyze the costs and benefits of decisions about diet and exercise. They discover that human behavior is influenced by choices, costs, incentives, rules, voluntary exchange, and future consequences, even in decisions about diet and exercise.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic systems, Future consequences, Incentives, Opportunity cost, Voluntary trade

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

Theme 1: Lesson 2 - The Economic Way of Thinking
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
Lesson 2 introduces students to the economic reasoning process or the "economic way of thinking." Students reason through two situations, using The Handy Dandy Guide, a primer on economic reasoning.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Opportunity cost, Wants, Cost/benefit analysis, Decision making, Incentives

Lesson 3 - Using Economic Reasoning To Solve Mysteries
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students ponder an economic mystery: Why do professional athletes, many of whom never finish college, earn far higher salaries than people who perform worthy services such as teachers and firefighters? The students discuss various explanations for this seemingly nonsensical inequity and then examine a set of clues and the principles of economic reasoning to help them arrive at a solution for the...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Economic reasoning, Incentives, Opportunity cost

Lesson 6 - The Economic Way of Thinking: Three Activities to Demonstrate Marginal Analysis
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
This lesson consists of three activities that demonstrate different applications of marginal analysis. You may use the activities separately or do them together in one class period. In the first activity, the students produce a good and demonstrate the law of diminishing marginal returns. In the second activity, a student consumes a good and demonstrates the law of diminishing marginal utility. In...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Diminishing marginal returns, Diminishing marginal utility, Marginal analysis, Marginal benefits and marginal costs, Opportunity cost, Scarcity, Specialization and division of labor

Unit 1: Lesson 4 - To Choose or Not to Choose? That Is Not the Question
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students make a decision after identifying the alternatives and their anticipated costs and benefits.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Alternatives, Choices, Economizing behavior, Scarcity

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 2 - Economic Decision Making
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students brainstorm ways to allocate a scarce good within the classroom. Then they work with a decision-making model that helps them make a decision about this allocation by showing them how to evaluate the merits of each alternative. Finally, students classify examples of market, traditional and command economic systems.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Allocation, Choices, Economic systems, Economizing behavior, Opportunity cost, Scarcity

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Making Choices
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 9-10 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students are introduced to the nature of choice making by confronting thorny problems individually and in groups.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Alternative, Choice, Opportunity cost, Scarcity, Value

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

Unit 4: Lesson 23 - Make a Profit: Do the Math
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Working as consultant teams, students use basic math to compute fixed costs, total costs, marginal costs, total revenues, marginal revenues, and profits (or losses) for a business. They determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output for the business, and analyze their results in terms of marginal revenues and marginal costs.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Incentive, Marginal analysis, Marginal cost, Marginal revenue, Profit, Total cost, Total revenue

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

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,

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,

Unit 2: Lesson 6 - Choices Have Benefits and Costs
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
In a simulation, "What's in the Box?" students examine the benefits and costs of alternative choices.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefit, Cost, Opportunity cost,

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 3: Lesson 14 - Choices Made by Others Affect Me
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Reading and analyzing a dilemma, students learn to recognize how other people's choices can affect them. Students respond to a series of events, indicating how they may or may not have been affected.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Alternative, Choice, Consequence,

ONLINE LESSONS:

online Trouble is Brewing in Boston - "Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak"
It's December 16, 1773 and many of the citizens of Boston are furious with King George's new tax on tea. Young Ethan, a printer's errand boy, has been given the task of conveying information concerning an upcoming protest meeting. As he makes his rounds through the city the reader is introduced to the goods and services provided by colonial merchants. [NOTE: These lessons are based on ...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Choice,Decision Making,Goods,Incentive,Opportunity Cost,Producers,Scarcity,Specialization,Services,Wants

online "The Giver": Jonas Makes a Choice
Jonas, a twelve-year old, lives in a seemingly perfect futuristic world. His community protects him from all harm and in doing so has taken away his opportunity to make decisions. Will Jonas ever be able to make a choice on his own? This lesson is based on the award-winning book "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, [Houghton Mifflin, Co., 1993.]
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Incentive,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Benefit,Costs,Alternative

online It's a Matter of Power
Students examine tradeoffs and profit- maximization decisions in the case study of Kaiser Aluminum, which decided to shut down aluminum production in favor of reselling electricity.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Incentive,Opportunity Cost,Profit Motive,Trade-off

online Satisfaction Please! (Part 1)
Even the savviest consumer has a problem with a good or service on occasion. It is a consumer’s right to complain when there is a genuine problem. In some situations, it is also a consumer’s responsibility. A problem can’t be fixed if no one knows it exists. In this series of three lessons, students learn how to effectively seek redress for a consumer problem. In the first lesson...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Consumer Economics,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Incentive,Opportunity Cost

online Destination: Mars
Look up! Can you ever imagine standing on another planet and looking down at earth? We've been to the moon - now lets launch an expedition to Mars. Imagine all the preparation you will have to go through in order to have a safe and successful mission! You must decide what you should take, how you will prepare yourself and carefully think through each and every choice – once you lift ...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Choice,Human Resources,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity

online You Decide!
Think about a difficult decision you have had to make. After you decided did it work out? Why or why not? Why do you think decisions and choices are hard to make? We make personal decisions and we make decisions as groups. There is a tool you can use to improve your decision making that will help you reach a better outcome.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Choice,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity

online Toys for Me: A Lesson on Choice
Students encounter the concept of scarcity in their daily tasks but have little comprehension as to its meaning or how to deal with the concept of scarcity. Scarcity is really about knowing that often life is 'This OR That' not 'This AND That'. This lesson plan for students in grades K-2 and 3-5 introduces the concept of scarcity by illustrating how time is finite and how life involves a s...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Choice,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Costs,Wants

online Sand Art Brownies
In this lesson, you will learn about substitute goods. You will have choices to make in your role as a shopper. In making these choices, you will decide whether you are willing to accept one good as a substitute for another or not. Are you willing to make substitutions at the grocery store? Complete this lesson and see.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Trade-off,Benefit,Costs

online Decision Making
Students apply a particular model for making decisions in exercises that call for choosing a college and buying a personal computer. The model focuses on explicit identification of problems, alternative possibilities for solving problems, criteria for evaluating those possibilities, and the opportunity cost of the decisions arising from the process. The need to make decisions is shown to be based ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity,Decision-Making Grid

online Should I Use Cash or Credit?
To use or not to use credit for a major purchase is an important decision. There is a nifty process in making such decisions-one that has been useful to many young people. They have used it not only for credit decisions but also for other major decisions, such as whether or not to take a particular job or what college to attend. In this lesson, we will look at this process and help you apply it. W...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Credit,Decision Making,Opportunity Cost,Scarcity

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