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

Unit 1: Lesson 5 - Rules Influence Economic Behavior

The lesson begins with a demonstration of how rules and incentives influence students' behavior in the classroom. Then students apply the same analysis to behavior in the larger economy. (WARNING: Given the unusual grading procedure specified in Procedure 5, this lesson may be hazardous to teacher's health.)

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Interdependence
Standards:
  • Standard #2: Decision Making
  • Standard #4: Incentives

Unit 2: Lesson 11 - Do Prices Matter to Consumers?

This lesson demonstrates how people use prices when they weight expected costs and expected benefits in making economic decisions. It helps students see how choosing a second-best good or service can in some cases improve their overall well-being.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Price
  • Benefit
  • Costs
  • Substitute
Standards:
  • Standard #1: Scarcity
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #8: Role of Prices

Unit 2: Lesson 12 - How Do Prices Influence My Behavior? Price Elasticity

Students review consumer and producer behavior in light of changing prices. They predict consumers' and producers' responses to changes in prices, product characteristics, costs of production, time and technology factors.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Price
  • Substitute
Standards:
  • Standard #1: Scarcity
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #8: Role of Prices

Unit 2: Lesson 6 - Why Did Communism Collapse?

Students examine and discuss visuals to solve an economic mystery regarding the command system of the Soviet Union.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Economic Systems
  • Incentive
  • Command Economy
  • Market Economy
Standards:
  • Standard #3: Allocation
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #7: Markets and Prices
  • Standard #8: Role of Prices
  • Standard #10: Institutions

Unit 2: Lesson 7 - A Silver Market

Students participate in a simulation activity that shows how a competitive market works. Although most markets for goods and services are not as competitive as the silver commodity market, the example helps students gain an understanding of how prices are set in any market.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Competition
  • Demand
  • Incentive
  • Markets
  • Supply
  • Consumer Surplus
  • Producer Surplus
  • Consume
Standards:
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #7: Markets and Prices

Unit 3: Lesson 15 - Why Do Some People Earn More Than Others?

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.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Human Capital
  • Future Consequences
  • Voluntary Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #2: Decision Making
  • Standard #3: Allocation
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #5: Trade
  • Standard #13: Income
  • Standard #15: Economic Growth

Unit 4: Lesson 20 - Why Helping Yourself Helps Others

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.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Competition
  • Incentive
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Market Economy
  • Future Consequences
  • Voluntary Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #2: Decision Making
  • Standard #3: Allocation
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #8: Role of Prices
  • Standard #9: Competition and Market Structure
  • Standard #15: Economic Growth

Unit 5: Lesson 24 - Government and the Environment

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.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Externalities
  • Incentive
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Future Consequences
  • Government Failure
  • Voluntary Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #1: Scarcity
  • Standard #2: Decision Making
  • Standard #3: Allocation
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #5: Trade
  • Standard #16: Role of Government and Market Failure
  • Standard #17: Government Failure

Unit 5: Lesson 27 - The Economics of Special Interest Groups

Students learn about the diverse nature of special interest groups and read examples that show how incentives influence the actions of elected officials.

Concepts:

  • Competition
  • Incentive
  • Interest
Standards:
  • Standard #17: Government Failure

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

Unit 5: Lesson 29 - Can Taxes Be Incentives?

Students examine different types of taxes and criteria for determining a fair tax. Students work in pairs to predict how changes in taxes will change people's behavior.

Concepts:

  • Incentive
  • Taxes
  • Substitute
Standards:
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #16: Role of Government and Market Failure

Unit 6: Lesson 31 - Measuring Unemployment: A Labor Market Mystery

Students examine an economic mystery regarding employment and unemployment statistics. They learn how the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures employment and unemployment. They use the Guide to Economic Reasoning and some arithmetic to solve the mystery of how employment and unemployment can increase at the same time.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Labor
  • Labor Force
  • Unemployment
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Employment Rate
Standards:
  • Standard #18: Economic Fluctuations

Unit 7: Lesson 39 - Why Go Global?

Students examine an economic mystery regarding the importance of U.S. participation in the global economy. They participate in a demonstration regarding imported clothing. They use the Guide to Economic Reasoning to explain that, while exports and imports may be a relatively small part of the U.S. economy, international trade benefits the United States and its trade partners.

Concepts:

  • Choice
  • Incentive
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Future Consequences
  • Voluntary Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #6: Specialization

Unit 7: Lesson 40 - Why Do People Trade Across National Borders?

This lesson involves students in a trading simulation that grows in complexity. Students use this experience to investigate the consequences of voluntary trade among individuals in increasingly larger groups.

Concepts:

  • Incentive
  • Benefit
  • Costs
  • Trade
Standards:
  • Standard #5: Trade

Unit 7: Lesson 44 - World Environmental Issues: Is the Market at Fault?

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.

Concepts:

  • Incentive
  • Markets
  • Scarcity
  • Tragedy of the Commons
Standards:
  • Standard #1: Scarcity
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #8: Role of Prices

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