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Virtual Economics


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 1: Lesson 2 - Is Economic Freedom a Necessary Condition for Political Freedom?
Civics and Government: Focus on Economics
Students explore the relationship between economic freedom and political freedom. Do countries that provide for political freedom also provide for economic freedom? Is there a connection between decentralized economic decision making and decentralized political decision making? Students make inferences about this relationship in the beginning of the lesson; then they use selected excerpts to de...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Market economic systems, Economic freedom, Political freedom, Role of government,

Lesson 12: Geo-Poems and Eco-Poems
Geography: Focus on Economics
Students write a Geo-Poem or an Eco-Poem describing a city or country, share their poems in small groups, select the best poem in each group to share with the class, discuss differences between geographic and economic perspectives, and evaluate this activity as a way of learning.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Location, Place, Human-Environment Interaction, Movement, Regions, Resources, Economic Institutions, Role of Government,

Theme 4: Lesson 19 - Scams and Schemes
Financial Fitness for Life: Bringing Home the Gold - Grades 9-12 - Teacher Guide
This lesson reminds students that while most credit transactions are completely legal, there are some that are not. This lesson introduces scams and schemes, such as identity theft, loan scams, and credit repair loans. The lesson also features legal but high-cost credit practices prevalent in urban areas such as payday loans and rent-to-own plans.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Legal forms of business

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,

Lesson 17 - How Financial Institutions Help Businesses Grow
Learning, Earning and Investing: High School
The students read two case studies about the financing of businesses, contrasting modern approaches with approaches from the 1870s. Using transparencies, the students discuss the advantages of the corporate form of business organization over sole proprietorships and partnerships, while also discussing modern financial institutions that help American business firms grow.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Bond, Corporation, Federal Reserve System, Investment bank, Limited liability, Partnership, Sole proprietorship, Stock, Venture capital

Lesson 17: Saving, Investing, and the Invisible Hand
Focus: High School Economics
This lesson explains how financial institutions in a market economy channel savings into economic investments. How much people save and how effectively those savings are transformed into good investments are directly related to a nation's economic growth. Historically, economic growth has been the primary way market systems reduce poverty and raise standards of living. Economic growth results f...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Saving, Investment, The stock market, The bond market, Primary and secondary markets for financial securities, Banks, Circular flow, The 'invisible hand',

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,

Lesson 3: Business Organizations
Focus: Institutions and Markets
Students first look at a list of business names and discuss what the various abbreviations that are often used as part of businesses' names mean. In a reading, students learn about three types of business organizations - sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. They compare the advantages and disadvantages of each type of business organization, including problems that arise when t...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Corporations, Partnerships, Sole proprietorships, Limited liability, Principal-agent problems, Economic institutions, Economies of scale,

Lesson 13: What type off business should I start?
Master Curriculum Guide: Economics and Entrepreneurship
As each entrepreneur makes the decision to start a business, he or she must also decide what type of business organization will be most advantageous for the new business. There are three types of business organizations: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Institutions, Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation,

Unit 7: Lesson 4 - The New Deal
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the 20th Century
Using a "bathtub" model, the teacher that government spending raises aggregate demand and that taxes lower aggregate demand. Working in groups, students complete on worksheet about New Deal policies and another about other forces affecting aggregate demand during the Great Depression. Students write brief answers to three essay questions.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Aggregate demand, Depression, Government spending, Taxation, Inflation,

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

Unit 3: Lesson 12 - Why Isn't Income Distributed More Equally?
Civics and Government: Focus on Economics
On day one, students review a list of selected occupations and categorize them according to median income. They brainstorm a list of reasons for income differentials and then review a list of conventional economic explanations. They review data on the personal distribution of income in the U.S. since 1950 to see how this distribution has changed over time. On the second day, students discuss va...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Income distribution, Economic incentives, 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,

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,

Unit 3: Lesson 11 - What Can the Government Do About Unemployment?
Civics and Government: Focus on Economics
An understanding of the three types of unemployment and the various policies government can pursue to alleviate unemployment is developed. Students categorize examples of unemployed workers as structural, cyclical, or frictional unemployment.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Unemployment, Role of government,

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 - Uncle Sam's Checkbook
Old MacDonald to Uncle Sam: Lesson Plans from Writers around the World
Students learn about the components of federal income taxes and expenditures. They also create and analyze political cartoons relevant to federal taxes and expenditures.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Income, Tax, Federal tax revenue, Payroll tax, Federal expenditures, Personal income tax,

Lesson 13: Public Choice: Economics Goes to Washington and into the Voting Booth
Focus: High School Economics
Economist James Buchanan won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1987, for pioneering work he had done with Gordon Tullock and others in the new field of public choice economics. This approach applies the basic economic way of thinking to group decisions made through the electoral process or by some government body. That means thinking of voters, elected officials, and government employees as people...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Self-interest, Expected benefits of voting, Expected costs of voting, Information and search costs, Special interest effects, Government failure,

Lesson 11: Public Goods and Services
Focus: High School Economics
Most goods and services produced in the marketplace are private goods and services. This kind of good or service is purchased by a consumer who desires it and can afford it, and then consumed only by that individual or anyone he or she gives it to. But some goods and services must be produced or provided by the public sector or government. Public goods and services are paid for through tax doll...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Public goods and services, Taxes, Nonexclusion principle, Shared consumption, 'Free riding' problems,


online Worker Safety - The Triangle Fire Legacy
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 was a turning point for employee health and safety protections in the U.S. Students investigate the Triangle tragedy and how its impact is still felt today. Students identify eerie parallels between the Triangle Fire and more recent workplace events with safety implications – recent complaints of Wal-Mart employee lock-ins, a deadly fire in a No...
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Cost/Benefit Analysis,Role of Government,Benefit,Costs,Labor,Labor Union,Special Interest Group

online Jokes, Quotations, and Cartoons in Economics
Students will apply their knowledge of economics to the analysis and interpretation of jokes, quotations, and cartoons in economics. Students will watch a Paul Solman video of an interview of Yoram Bauman, the Stand up Economist. Students will use Daryl Cagel's cartoon website, Jokes on the Web, and news media to find economics humor and interpret.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget Deficit,Business,Central Banking System,Credit,Gross Domestic Product (GDP),Incentive,Role of Government,Stock Market,Labor,Unemployment,Recession,Spend

online Tax Time Scavenger Hunt
Income taxes can be confusing, but there are a lot of online resources to help us understand them! This lesson takes students through four useful sites, asking them to look for specific information that will broaden their understanding of how income taxes work.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Income,Taxation,Taxes

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

online Satisfaction Please! (Part 3)
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: Consumer Economics,Legal and Social Framework,Role of Government,Nonprofit Organization,Special Interest Group,Regulation

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 The Collapse of Corporate Giants: The New Dr. Evils?
This lesson was inspired by an article in "Fortune" magazine, "Why Companies Fail," May 27,2002. Its focus is on the relationship of business ethics to business bankruptcy or near failure. Students participate in a simulation by assuming the roles of either members of an inquirery board or by assuming the roles of the chief executive officers of a selected corporation. ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Business,Choice,Competition,Decision Making,Economic Freedom,Legal and Social Framework

online Political Beliefs and the Federal Budget
ESSENTIAL DILEMMA Should political philosophy influence how we view the federal budget?
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Budget,Budget Deficit,Debt,Government Spending

online Constitution Costs
This lesson helps students understand the basic services provided for Americans in the United States Constitution and the necessity of a system of taxation to fund those services. Students will debate the pros and cons of having governments fund and provide particular services.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Aggregate Demand (AD),Budget,Role of Government,Taxation

online Fiscal and Monetary Policy Process and Interactive Quiz
Students follow each step of fiscal and monetary policy processes, to see the logic of how these tools are used to correct economic instability.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Aggregate Demand (AD),Demand,Government Expenditures,Government Revenues,Tools of the Federal Reserve

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