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Exemplary High School Economics Lessons

Sample Lessons

Unit 1: Lesson 1 - Economic Reasoning: Why Are We A Nation of Couch Potatoes?

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.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Economic Systems
  • Future Consequences
  • Incentive
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Voluntary Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #1: Scarcity
  • Standard #2: Decision Making
  • Standard #3: Allocation
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #5: Trade

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Unit 2: Lesson 10 - Equilibrium Prices and Equilibrium Quantities

In examining a visual about the market for yo-yos, students think through the process of mutual accommodation among buyers and sellers that results in an equilibrium price. Students then complete an activity plotting supply and demand curves in the market for Frisbees, identifying the equilibrium price and quantity under different conditions.

Concepts:

  • Demand
  • Equilibrium Price
  • Quantity Demanded
  • Quantity Supplied
  • Shortage
  • Supply
  • Surplus
Standards:
  • Standard #7: Markets and Prices
  • Standard #8: Role of Prices

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Unit 5: Lesson 28 - The Economics of Voting

Students examine a visual to identify patterns of voter turnout in U.S. presidential elections. They analyze the costs and benefits of voting and discuss how people's voting behavior is influenced by incentives.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Rational Ignorance
Standards:
  • Standard #17: Government Failure

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Unit 7: Lesson 43 - Why Are Some Nations Wealthy?

Students work in groups to examine data from several nations regarding size, natural resources, and population. Using these data, they try to identify the nations and predict whether each nation is rich or poor. Students rank the nations from richest to poorest. After the mystery nations are revealed, students discuss economists' findings about the factors that contribute most to long-term economic growth.

Concepts:

  • Economic Growth
  • Human Capital
  • Natural Resources
  • Physical Capital
  • Productivity
  • Property Rights
  • Savings
  • Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #15: Economic Growth

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