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Virtual Economics


Lesson 7: Mutual (and Comparative) Advantages
The Wide World of Trade
Using numerical examples and bar graphs, students see why it benefits two countries to specialize in the production of one of two products and then trade with each other, even if one country has the resources and technology to produce more of either good than the other country. The last section of this lesson can be used as a challenge activity.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Exchange, Specialization, Opportunity cost, Comparative advantage,

Lesson 3: Everyone Is Interdependent
The Wide World of Trade
In this lesson, students learn about resources from around the world that are used in the production of a specific product -- Hershey's Kisses. Students then determine the identity of a mystery product using clues about world resources that are used to produce it. In both activities, students use world maps to identify trade flow patterns. Through the activities, they learn about economic inter...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Productive resources, Exchange, Specialization, Interdependence, Benefits of trade,

Lesson 13 - Comparative Advantage and Trade in a Global Economy
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Students observe or participate in a role-play situation in which one person is better at both of two activities. They complete a work sheet that leads to the conclusion that specialization and exchange make both people better off. Then they apply this situation to international trade and to the concepts of absolute advantage and comparative advantage. In small groups, they identify winners and lo...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Absolute advantage, Barriers to trade, Comparative advantage, Opportunity cost, Specialization, Voluntary trade

Unit 7: Lesson 41 - Why People Trade: Comparative Advantage
Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide
The students decide why people buy foreign goods, and they practice measuring the comparative advantage of different producers.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Comparative advantage, Opportunity cost, Specialization, Trade

Lesson 29: The Production Process
Exploring the Marketplace: The Community Publishing Company - Teacher Resource Manual
Students produce their class book and thereby experience first-hand how people specialize and cooperate in a business. The children discuss the results of the production process and relate the experience to other businesses in their community.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Human resources, Interdependence, Productivity, Specialization,

Lesson 27: Job Application
Exploring the Marketplace: The Community Publishing Company - Teacher Resource Manual
The students discuss the jobs on the production line that will be necessary to produce the books. They consider personal strengths and abilities that would qualify them for particular jobs. They also complete a job application form.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Human resources, Productivity, Specialization, Interdependence,

Lesson 6 - Joining Together That Which Has Drifted Apart
Middle School World Geography: Focus on Economics
In this lesson, the students learn about the physical forces that move people on different continents further apart and the economic forces that bring them together. They read about the formation and breakup of two great continents, Laurasia and Gondwana, over 150 million years ago. They learn that continents are still moving today. They take the role of workers on these two continents who are pro...
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Productivity, Production possibilities, Opportunity cost, Absolute advantage, Comparative advantage ,Specialization

Unit 4: Lesson 10 - What Are the Advantages of Working with Others to Produce?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
Students read historical fiction set in 1855 in the Oregon Territory. The story illustrates the results of people working interdependently. The students identify ways in which the characters in the story worked together.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Division of labor, Homestead, Human capital, Interdependence, Produce, Specialization,

Unit 2: Lesson 6 - Changing Productivity
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 9-10 - Teacher's Resource Manual
In a production simulation, students experience several ways of producing something; they also measure productivity.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Division of labor, Human capital, Production, Productivity, Specialization,

Lesson 8 - Productivity
Economics in Action: 14 Greatest Hits for Teaching High School Economics
Working in small groups, the students participate in a production simulation to determine the effects of specialization on labor productivity, the division of labor, and investment in human capital and capital goods.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Investment in capital goods, Investment in human capital, Productivity, Specialization and division of labor

Lesson 3 - Why Would You Raise Chickens When You Don't Like Eggs? or Why Did Farmers Specialize?
United States History: Focus on Economics
Students analyze maps and farmers' choices to explain the impact that barter had on the decline of subsistence farming and the growth of single-crop farming. They develop theories to explain why incentives influenced farmers to become less self-sufficient, to specialize and trade.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Choice, Specialization, Trade, Barter

Lesson 2: Special Friends
The Wide World of Trade
Pairs of students play the roles of two friends who have chores to complete before they can spend time together. Through trial-and-error, students discover the benefits of specialization and trade. A second activity identifies reasons why people, businesses, and countries gain by specializing in the production of some goods and services.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Exchange, Specialization,

Lesson 3: Why Nations Trade
Geography: Focus on Economics
Students read and discuss a narrative about international trade that focuses on opportunity cost and the principle of comparative advantage. Then the class is divided into four groups, each representing a different country. They engage in a simulation that assesses the skills available within their countries, and each country decides on an area of specialization. The lesson ends with a class di...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Opportunity Cost, Absolute Advantage, Comparative Advantage, Specialization, Terms of Trade,

Lesson 4: International Interdependence
Geography: Focus on Economics
Students provide information about foreign-made goods that they and their families have purchased, and a master list is compiled. Then they hypothesize reasons why people buy goods made in other countries, and these reasons are also recorded. They are asked whether foreign trade is more important, less important, or equally important to the United States and other countries, and their answers ar...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: International Trade, Gross Domestic Product, Real Gross Domestic Product, Exports, Imports, Interdependence, Visible Exports, Invisible Exports, Opportunity Cost,

Unit 5: Lesson 4 - Entrepreneurship Case Study: Adam Smith
United States History: Eyes on the Economy - Through the Civil War
Students use statements from The Wealth of Nations as primary sources. They discuss distinctions between mercantilist economies and market economies.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Mercantilism, Market, Incentives, Trade, Specialization,

Lesson 10: Why Are Some Nations Wealthy?
Focus: Economic Systems
Students work in pairs to examine data from several nations regarding size, natural resources, and population. Using these data they make predictions about which nations are likely to be below, at, or above the world average of per capita Gross Domsetic Product (GDP). GDP is the basic economic measure of national income, so per capita GDP is a key measure of a nation's per person income. Studen...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Economic Growth, Productivity, Property Rights, Saving and Investment, Physical Capital and Human Capital, Natural Resources, Trade

Lesson 7: Widget Production
Master Curriculum Guides in Economics: Teaching Strategies - 5-6
In order to produce an output of goods or services, a firm needs inputs or factors of production. Businesses must purchase natural, human, and capital resources. Entrepreneurship is provided by the owner or manager of the firm. These inputs can be combined in different ways to produce the firm's product.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Factors of production, Productivity, Increasing productivity, Opportunity cost, Division of labor, Specialization, Investment,

Lesson 5: Getting More Out of Less
Master Curriculum Guides in Economics: Teaching Strategies - 3-4
Many decisions must be made to produce a good or service. For example, producers must make decisions about what to produce, what kind of building and tools are needed, what workers are needed, what materials are needed, what the costs of acquiring these resources will be, and what price to charge for the finished product.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Productivity, Specialization, Division of labor,

Lesson 28: Preparation for Production
Exploring the Marketplace: The Community Publishing Company - Teacher Resource Manual
This lesson prepares the class for assembling the books. You will review the steps in production with the class. The students will then develop a list of rules for the workers to follow. At the conclusion of the lesson the workers will make the identification cards they will wear in the next lesson.
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Human resources, Productivity, Specialization,

Unit 4: Lesson 11 - Can I Learn to Work with Others to Produce?
Choices and Changes: In Life, School, and Work - Grades 5-6 - Teacher's Resource Manual
In a large group, students attempt to accomplish a task that requires working interdependently with others. They identify the human capital they used to produce a service. Then they identify the human capital they used as the speed and complexity of production increase and become more difficult.
Grade(s): 5.6
Concepts: Human capital, Interdependence, Produce, Service,


online Frontier Specialists
The level of output in an economy can be increased through specialization. Economic specialization occurs when people produce different goods and services than they consume. It requires people to exchange goods and services.
Grade(s): 6-8
Concepts: Absolute Advantage,Exchange,Goods,Interdependence,Specialization,Comparative Advantage,Services

online Hawaiian Economics: Barter for Fish & Poi
In ancient Hawaii, chiefs managed the economy by creating a land division system, the Ahupua'a, which divided the islands into pie slice shapes. Each Ahupua'a covered the three main regions of the islands: the mountains, the valleys, and the beach. This system was designed to allow all Hawaiian communities equal access to the limited natural resources of the islands. However, it took a lot...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Barter,Division of Labor,Exchange,Interdependence,Natural Resources,Specialization,Productivity

online Specialization and the Decathlon
This lesson uses results from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games to explain that athletes specialize in sports and events for which they are most skilled for the same reasons that individuals and nations specialize in the production of goods and services for which they have an absolute or a comparative advantage.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Absolute Advantage,Opportunity Cost,Specialization,Comparative Advantage,Productivity

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 Specialists Light Up Our Lives!
Peppe and his family moved to America to pursue the American dream. His mother has passed away, his father is ill,and all the children need to find work to help provide for basic essentials. Peppe is excited to find a job, only to be told by his dad that it is not a job he should be proud of. This lesson will challenge students to consider specialists in the community and the valuable goods and s...
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Goods,Human Resources,Income,Interdependence,Specialization,Services

online Old Business, New Business
In this lesson students are introduced to several businesses from the past. They see that, while the names for these businesses are different, many of the elements of that job are seen in occupations today. The web site, "Business Cards..." explains that many of our family names may have come the occupations of preceding generations. The activity at the end of this lesson allow...
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Advertising,Business,Division of Labor,Goods,Interdependence,Specialization,Technological Changes,Services

online Sports Economics: Worshipping at the Altars of Adi, Phil and Kevin
Essential Question: How do entrepreneurship, competition, and specialization benefit consumers of athletic footwear and apparel? In order to gain a better understanding of the important role entrepreneurs play in a market economy, students participate in an activity that highlights the history of the athletic apparel industry in the United States and beyond. At the completion of the lesson, studen...
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Specialization,Entrepreneur,Voluntary Exchange

online Lean on Me -- We depend on each other!
The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate that the production of most goods can be broken down into a number of specific tasks (division of labor), with each of these tasks assigned to specific workers (specialization.)
Grade(s): K-2, 3-5
Concepts: Division of Labor,Interdependence,Productive Resources,Specialization

online Where Did You Come From?
In this multiple intelligences lesson the students figure out why the United States imports some goods that we can grow right here!
Grade(s): 3-5
Concepts: Exports,Interdependence,Specialization,Imports

online International Trade Creates More and Better Jobs
This lesson explores the relationship between productivity and international trade. Specifically, this lessons shows why there should be fewer trade restrictions rather than more.
Grade(s): 9-12
Concepts: Exchange,Specialization

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