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Virtual Economics

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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

Unit 2: Lesson 6 - Why Did Communism Collapse?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students examine and discuss visuals to solve an economic mystery regarding the command system of the Soviet Union.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Command economy, Economic systems, Market economy, Incentives

Lesson 15 - How Private Efforts Can Improve Environmental Quality
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students examine case studies showing how various uses of private property affect environmental quality. They analyze these cases in order to identify conditions under which private property ownership and the profit motive create incentives for environmental protection.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Benefits, Costs, Incentives, Private property, Profits, Voluntary exchange

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 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 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 1: Lesson 1 - Solving Economic Mysteries in U.S. History: A User's Guide
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
This lesson uses introductory readings and discussion to explain to students what they will be studying and how they should approach solving economic mysteries in U.S. history. Students are introduced to the Handy Dandy Guide (HDG), which summarizes principles they will use to solve economic mysteries.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economize, Choice, Alternatives, Opportunity cost, Benefits, Incentives, Economic system, Trade,

Lesson 6 - Why Don't Cowboys Ever Ride into the Sunset?
United States History: Focus on Economics
Students listen to an old Western tune and participate in a class discussion about cowboy life. They read a primary-source description about cowboy life. They work in small groups to examine why cowboys are still popular.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Benefits, Costs, Incentives, Property rights

Lesson 3 - Why Do We Have So Few Whales and So Many Chickens?
Economics and the Environment: Ecodetectives
The students participate in a classroom simulation that demonstrates the tragedy of the commons. Next, the simulation is altered by an introduction of property rights, and the simulation outcome changes. Then the students solve the mystery of the whales and chickens by comparing their simulation experiences with actual practices regarding whale and chicken management.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Choice, Incentives, Property rights

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - How Has the Constitution Shaped the Economic System in the United States?
Civics and Government: Focus on Economics
Students provide their own examples of the six characteristics of a market economy as they exist in the United States today. Then they see how the U.S. Constitution supports those characteristics by reading relevant portions of the Constitution, and matching these provisions with the six characteristics of a market economy. The lesson concludes by having the students read and discuss relevant po...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Private property, Freedom of enterprise, Freedom of choice, Motive of self-interest, Competition, Markets, Prices, Limited role of government,

Unit 7: Lesson 6 - We Shall Not Be Moved
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
Students read the lyrics to a union song. They examine statistics on union membership as a percentage of the labor force and then use economic reasoning to study why union membership increased in 1935.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Incentives, Rules of the economic system,

Unit 3: Lesson 2 - Be a Planet Planner
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the Civil War
In this role-playing activity, students work in groups to recommend economic development policies for a newly discovered planet.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic freedom, Private property, Incentives,

Lesson 19: Privatization Around the World
Focus: International Economics
In this lesson, students review and evaluate the approaches most widely used to privatize public enterprises and services. They also review some international comparisons on the success of these programs in different nations. In the assessment section, references to several articles on privatization that have appeared in recent issues of The Economist magazine are provided to enable teachers and...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Incentives, Competition, Institutions, Property Rights, Privatization

Lesson 4: How to Privatize?
From Plan to Market: Teaching Ideas for Social Studies, Economics, and Business Classes
By reference to property rights, students discuss the solution to the problem of the mess in the school cafeteria. They work in cooperative groups to identify advantages and disadvantages of alternative approaches to privatization. In class discussion, they analyze the strengths and weaknesses of all four approaches to privatization.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Incentives, Property Rights, Privatization

Unit 2: Lesson 1 - Free A Grades: The Consequences of Changing Allocation Systems
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
Students are given three different allocation plans to distribute more A grades in the class. They analyze each plan, identify the relative costs and benefits, and predict how implementation of each plan might change individual student behavior.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Opportunity cost, Incentives, Choices, Allocations,

Lesson 10: Distribution of Income: Different Ways to Slice the Pie
From Plan to Market: Teaching Ideas for Social Studies, Economics, and Business Classes
In this lesson, students investigate some of the advantages and disadvantages of market and command economic systems by participating in a simulation and reading about the experiences of people living in Ukraine in 1997. The pains of transition are evident, as in the hope of many for a better future when the transition to a market system is complete.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Incentives, Economic Systems, Income Distribution, Productivity

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 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 2: Property Rights and Contracts as Economic Institutions
Focus: Institutions and Markets
Students consider the importance of a system of defining, recording and protecting property rights in a market-based economy. Students differentiate between private and communal property, they consider various methods for recording property ownership, and they examine one institution - The United States Patent and Trademark Office - created to define and protect property rights. Finally, stu...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Private property, Communal property, Intellectual property, Market economy, Incentives, Legal foundations of a market economy, Contracts,

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Solving Economic Mysteries in U.S. History: A User's Guide
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the Civil War
This lesson uses introductory readings and discussion to explain to students what they will be studying and how they should approach solving economic mysteries in U.S. history. Students are introduced to the Handy Dandy Guide (HDG), which summarizes principles they will use to solve economic mysteries.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economize, Choice, Alternatives, Opportunity cost, Benefits, Incentives, Economic system, Trade,

ONLINE LESSONS:

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 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 To Buy or Not To Buy
While precise numbers are not known, it is believed the number of boycotts has grown markedly in the past fifty years. Consumers seem to be besieged by requests from special interest groups to refrain from buying certain goods and services. In this lesson, students study how boycotts have been used throughout U.S. history to help promote economic, social and political change. After researc...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Circular Flow,Demand,Goods,Incentive,Markets,Market Economy,Services

online The Price We Pay for Health: US and Canada
Students will review the health systems of United States and Canada. They will identify the positive aspects of each system. They will look at the trade-offs associated with those positive aspects. In Canada, everyone has health care, but certain specialized medical services are not always available. In the United States, many people are not insured, yet for many people the access to te...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice,Competition,Economic Freedom,Economic Security,Incentive,Trade-off,Trade-offs among Goals

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 The Economics of Pro Sports: Why are the Cowboys and Yankees so Valuable?
This lesson investigates the value of sports franchises in the various professional sports leagues. Students will investigate the revenues and costs of pro sports teams and determine which teams are the most valuable. Lastly, students will understand the specific rules of the game that leagues employ that influence franchise values.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Incentive,Costs,Profit,Debt,Revenue

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 Car Shopping in a Command Economy
Contrary to US methods of distribution (namely prices), the Soviet Union used different methods of distribution of its goods during the reign of Communism. This lesson will explore the benefits and consequences of each of those methods of distribution.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Economic Systems,Incentive,Price,Command Economy

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 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

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