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Virtual Economics


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

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

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 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 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

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

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

Lesson 4: Sparta, Athens, Cuba and the United States: Ancient and Modern Examples of Command and Market Economies
Focus: Economic Systems
Students compare the economies of ancient Sparta and Athens using primary sources of speeches and other historical accounts. Students then compare the current economic systems of the United States and Cuba, using passages from their respective national constitutions.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Institiutions, Market Economy, Command Economy, Economic Freedom, Property Rights

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 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 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 - 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 44 - World Environmental Issues: Is the Market at Fault?
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
Students study for short case studies. They identify similarities and differences across these five case studies. After noting this information, they assess several environmental policy solutions. They must decide which policies set up incentives that encourage good stewardship of the resources.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Incentives, Markets, Private property ownership, Scarcity, Tragedy of the commons

Lesson 1: Broad Social Goals of Economic Systems
Focus: Economic Systems
Students create their own utopian society by rating five broad social goals. They learn about characteristics of command economies and market economies and make judgments about the goals that are most valued in each type of system. Finally, using data measure various kinds of national economic performance, they evaluate the economic systems of different countries using the five social goals.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Broad Social Goals (Efficiency Equity Freedom Growth Stability), Command Economy, Market Economy

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Exchanging Goods and Services
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work- Grades 7-8 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Through a barter activity, students experience barter as a means of exchange; the activity shows students that they are participants in the economy.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Barter, Goods, Market economy, Services,

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: What (and How Much) Should Government Do?
Focus: Economic Systems
Students receive cards that describe either a personal goal or a broad social goal that, to some degree, involves a role for government. They trade cards in an attempt to obtain one for which they agree with the government program or level of government involvement. Through discussion, the cards are used to identify the functions of government and to analyze the costs and benefits of government ...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Role of Government, Command Economy, Market Economy, Market Economy

Theme 1: Lesson 1 - The Economic Way of Thinking
Financial Fitness for Life: Shaping Up Your Financial Future - Grades 6-8 - Teacher Guide
In this lesson, the students practice the economic way of thinking, a strategy for analyzing their own decisions as well as those of others.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Opportunity cost, Incentives, Consequence


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 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 "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 Traditional Economies and the Inuit
The Inuit people of northern Canada provide an example of a traditional economy. For thousands of years, Inuit parents have taught their children the survival skills needed to survive in the Arctic Circle's severe climate. Students will research the Inuit economy and compare and contrast it with the United States' market economy.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Demand,Goods,Scarcity,Supply,Market Economy,Resources,Traditional Economy

online I Don't Want Much, I Just Want More: Allocation, Competition and Productivity
In this lesson, students will examine different methods for allocating resources, taking note of the cost and benefits associated with each method. This analysis will help students to understand competition and productivity as important elements of the U.S. market economy.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Competition,Scarcity,Market Economy,Productivity

online Tapped Dry: How Do You Solve a Water Shortage?
Economists do not operate in a vacuum. If an economist is going to suggest that the price of a good needs to be increased, he or she needs to consider who will bear the increase in costs. Will the costs be distributed equally or will one group pay more than another group? Furthermore, an economist should ask if there is a more efficient way to allocate the good than by means of a broad-bas...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Demand,Incentive,Scarcity,Supply

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 Comparative Economic Systems
Students research the economic systems of a communist country and a third-world country and compare them to the US, guided by questions and using information from the CIA World Factbook website.
Grade(s): 6-8, 9-12
Concepts: Economic Systems

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 Economic Sectors and International Development
Using poverty rate as a measure of development, students select countries five at a time to compare how resources are allocated to three economic sectors (agriculture, industrial, service). After making comparisons, students will identify patterns in which sector is emphasized by the wealthiest countries, and will look for patterns in the geographic distribution of countries.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Equity,Economic Growth

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