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Virtual Economics

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Lesson 11: "Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Why Do We Need the WTO?"
Focus: Institutions and Markets
Several activities are used to introduce students to six international institutions that play important economic roles, especially in the areas of international trade, finance, and development: the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: International economic institutions, Gains from trade, Tariffs, Public goods, Market failures, Monetary policy, Property rights, Competition,

Unit 4: Lesson 3 - Regulations of Business
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
Students are presented with an economic mystery. They read and discuss handouts concerning farmers' demands for government regulation of railroads and how the ensuing regulation created incentives which caused the Interstate Commerce Commission to become a "captured" agency. They apply their analysis to the deregulation of airlines and trucking in the late 1970s.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Regulation, Price, Incentive, Natural monopoly, Captured agency,

Lesson 4 - Who Should Make the Food Safe?
United States History: Focus on Economics
Students role-play, participate in a class discussion, and analyze a graph depicting changes in a market to gain insight into ways in which government regulations affect the behavior of producers.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Cost, Competition, Incentives, Government regulation

Lesson 8- Adam Smith And The Market Economy
World History: Focus on Economics
Students read a passage describing Adam Smith's concept of individual self-interest. Next, groups of students act as competitive producers or as investors in a simulation. Finally, they answer in writing several questions designed to debrief the simulation.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Self-interest, Competition, Government Regulation, Markets, Market Economy

Unit 4: Lesson 2 - The Economic Effects of 19th Century Monopoly
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
Students examine a series of visuals and discuss handouts on the economic impact of the "Robber Barons" in the 1890s and today.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Wealth, Monopoly, Competition, 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

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

Lesson 5: The role of entrepreneurs in our economy
Master Curriculum Guide: Economics and Entrepreneurship
Societies develop economic systems to provide a structure for determining how limited resources will be used to meet the unlimited wants of their members. To date societies have developed three basic types of economic systems: traditional, command, and market. A fourth, the mixed economic system, is a combination of the first three systems for making economic decisions.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Systems (traditional command market mixed), Competition

Lesson 4 - Property Rights in a Market Economy
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students discuss private property, free enterprise, self-interest, competition, a system of markets and prices, and limited government as characteristics of market economies. They participate in or observe an activity demonstrating that property rights affect incentives and behavior. They conclude that it is important to have clearly defined property rights so resources are not wasted.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Competition, Free enterprise, Limited government, Private property (property rights), Self-interest, System of markets and prices

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 3: Lesson 10 - Why Does the Federal Government Give Money to State and Local Governments?
Civics and Government: Focus on Economics
The class discusses the meaning of spillover benefits (positive externalities) and develops a list of goods and services provided by state or local governments that could result in positive externalities. The concept of fiscal federalism is discussed by examining why and how the Federal government would encourage state and local governments to increase their production of the items on the list. ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Positive externalities, Spillover benefits, Incentives, Intergovernmental grants, Fiscal federalism,

Lesson 9 - Prohibition Then; MADD Today
United States History: Focus on Economics
Students read short histories of Prohibition and MADD and work in small groups to evaluate the consequences of these policies on consumers' behavior.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Costs/benefits, Incentives, Externalities (social consequences)

Unit 3: Lesson 9 - How Are Economic Solutions to Pollution Different from Political Solutions?
Civics and Government: Focus on Economics
After students have developed an understanding of externalities, they examine a case study of pollution in Los Angeles and determine a variety of solutions for this problem. The costs and benefits of these solutions are explored.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Externalities, role of government, Incentives,

Lesson 5 - The Role of Government In a Market Economy
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students brainstorm suggestions about which functions government should perform in a market economy and compare their suggestions with categories economists frequently use. They participate in a quiz activity that shows the characteristics of public goods and explains why certain public goods are best provided by the government. They next participate in or observe a short play to determine when ne...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Externality, Market failure, Private-property rights, Public goods, Role of government in a market economy

Lesson 7: Public Goods and Externalities
Focus: Institutions and Markets
This lesson gives students an opportunity to identify the nature of public and private goods, classify them according to the characteristics of rivalry and excludability, experience the impact of free riders and other external benefits and costs, and demonstrate that market-based solutions to externalities are often superior to inflexible government regulations.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Nonrival products, Nonexcludable products, Pure private goods and services, Pure public goods and services, External benefits and costs, Free riding,

Lesson 11: The Lancaster Landfill
Geography: Focus on Economics
Students participate in a simulated town meeting called to consider proposed solutions to the problem of groundwater contamination. Hazardous waste accumulated in a landfill over many years is creating the problem. The landfill is no longer in use, but it poses a risk to fish, wildlife, and people living nearby. Each student is provided with a specific role and a point of view.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Environment, Government Regulation, Hazardous Waste, Third Party Costs, Property Rights, Market Mechanism, Technology,

Unit 3: Lesson 8 - Don't Rain On My Parade!
Economics and the Environment
Students play a trading game to learn the economic consequences of trades on the traders and on others who may be affected by the trades.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Externality, Negative externality, Positive externality, Allocative Efficiency,

Lesson 17: Entrepreneurs and government intervention
Master Curriculum Guide: Economics and Entrepreneurship
All firms exist within the context of society and its governmental system. Business activity certainly can contribute to the goals of society. On the other hand, the interests of society sometimes can conflict with those of individual entrepreneurs and businesses.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Role of Government, Government Intervention, Cost of Government Regulation, Externalities, Laissez-faire, Minimum Wage,

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

Lesson 6- The Decline of Spain
World History: Focus on Economics
Students work in small groups to study the Spanish economy in the 16th century and draw conclusions for developing nations today.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Growth, Government Spending, Taxation, Monopoly, Human Resources, Inflation, Price Controls

ONLINE LESSONS:

online New Sense, Inc. vs. Fish 'Till U Drop or Coase Vs. Pigou
Hot debate and arguments galore whirl around this question: "Which economic approach is the most efficient and fair to resolve utility issues surrounding the use of common or public property?" This lesson will explore, examine and analyze this perplexing question by engaging in an open-ended role play simulation.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Externalities,Benefit,Costs,Property Rights,Public Goods,Transaction Costs,Monopolies

online Competition Works in Our Flavor
Competition provides benefits for consumers. First, more competition means consumers have more choices of goods and services. Second, when more firms are offering goods and services, competition often leads to lower prices.
Grade(s): 3-5, 6-8
Concepts: Competition,Role of Government,Monopolies

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 What Happened to Railroads?
Between the Civil War and World War II, railroads were one of the nation's most important businesses and an integral part of people’s lives. In this lesson, students assume the role of detectives investigating why the rail companies experienced a crisis in the 1960s and what helped the freight transport portion of the business return to profitability later in the same century. Students analy...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Competition,Cost/Benefit Analysis,Demand,Incentive,Maintaining Competition,Natural Monopoly,Non-price Determinants,Role of Government,Supply,Benefit,Costs,Determinants of Demand,Determinants of Supply,Profit,Regulation,Monopolies

online The American Standard of Living - For Better or For Worse
Is the distribution of income in the United States becoming more unequal? Does the average American today have a higher or lower standard of living than the average American of a generation ago? Will the next generation have a higher or lower standard of living?
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Competition,Consumer Economics,Demand,Economic Growth,Redistribution of Income,Supply,Distribution of Income,Market Economy,Standard of Living

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 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 Deceptive Advertising: Crossing the Line
Businesses use advertising to tell consumers about the goods and services they are selling. Businesses hope that their advertisements will convince people to buy their products. In this lesson, students examine the ground rules for advertisements of goods and services, why we need rules, who sets them, and who enforces them. They research cases in which, deceptive advertising has been charged and ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Competition,Incentive,Legal and Social Framework,Role of Government,Regulation

online Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
This lesson introduces regulation and information as two tools used by government to promote fair competition and complete information in a market economy. Using the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act as a case study, students explore the reasons buyers and sellers asked the federal government to intervene with respect to food safety and quality. In a second activity, students examine how govern...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Decision Making,Maintaining Competition,Role of Government,Regulation

online History of monopolies in the United States.
Monopolies in the United States have existed in many forms. When a business dominates a market, its market power makes it a monopoly. How these businesses use their market power will determine the legality of the monopoly.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Competition,Regulation

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