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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

The Global Economy Today

Introduction to Economics


This lesson covers the following topics from micro-economics: supply & demand, the concept of supply and demand "curves", fixed costs, variable costs, the concepts of revenue and profit, and the concepts of cost and revenue "curves".

Group Size: Any

Learning Objectives:

1.  Students will gain a general understanding of the above concepts from micro-economics

2.  Students will acquire a working vocabulary for the project using the words "cost and revenue curves", "demand curve", "revenue and proft".

3.  Students will demonstrate their understanding through composing notes on the subject


Inform the students that this class will be very different than most "math" classes:  we will be talking about economics, the math of money.  Inform them that they will be expected to pay close attention in class and ask any questions that might occur to them, because they will have to type up notes on this topic tonight for homework.  These notes will be turned in tomorrow and revised, and they will figure as part of the required content in their portfolio (see checklist and rubric).

 The teacher will then give a small lecture that defines and explains the following topics:

  • Economics -- the study of resources and how they are allocated.
  • Products -- what a business produces
  • Supply -- the amount of a product available on the market.
    • Supply curve -- the notion that as supply goes up, price goes down.  Explain this using theoretical examples (i.e. water on a desert island -- if only one person is selling it, they can charge what they want; if several people are selling it, the price goes down).  Demonstrate how this can be graphed as a simple linear function with a positive slope, where the number of people willing to supply goes up as price goes up (example:  the number of oil drillers when oil was $100 a barrel vs. when it's $50).
  • Demand -- how many people desire a particular product
    • Demand curve -- the notion that as demand goes up, price goes up.  Use theoretical examples (i.e. water on a desert island -- everyone wants it, if there's only one source, they'll pay more -- vs. math textbooks -- few people want them, the price goes down).
    • Demonstrate how a demand curve can be represented as a line with negative slope if the price of the product is the given, and the dependent variable is the number of people demanding the product.  (That is, as the price of XBoxes goes up, the number of people willing to buy them goes down.)
  • Costs -- what a business pays to bring a product to market
    • Fixed Cost -- the costs that the business pays regardless of how much it produces (e.g. rent, advertising, etc.)
    • Variable Cost -- the costs that the business pays that change as the number of units change (e.g. salaries, utilities, price of raw materials, etc.).  This cost should be represented as a cost per unit produced (e.g. it costs us $0.13 for every cookie we bake -- for the ingredients, electricity, time, etc.)
    • Total Cost = Fixed Cost + (Variable Cost x Number of Units Sold)
  • Revenue -- the money a business takes in.  This is simply the product of the number sold and the price (charged).
    • Revenue = Price x Number
  • Profit -- the difference between cost and revenue.  This is how much money you actually make.
    • Profit = Revenue - Total Cost
The teacher should use an example to make this clearer (for instance, a coffee business where the fixed costs are the rent and advertising, and the variable costs are the cost of the coffee, water, and employee time).  Create some arbitrary numbers for each of these and work through each of the above cost, revenue, and profit concepts to ensure that students understand.


Students will type up their notes from the class period and turn them in during the following class. The teacher should review these notes, and students should revise and correct them, and then place the final draft in their portfolios.

Microfinance for Kids - www.OneHen.org

Chap. 4 Lesson Plan on World Resources and Economic Activity

This lesson covers world resources and world economic activity.

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China: Factory of the World (PDF)

These lesson plans, activities, and resources will help students begin to examine China's current industrial revolution and explore the benefits and costs of its spectacular growth.

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Globalization101.org: A free website for teaching about globalization


Globalization101.org teaches high school students about policy aspects of globalization related to civics, economics, geography and history, without any fees or charges. Globalization101.org provides unbiased, easily understandable information and related lesson plans to teach about cross-disciplinary subjects such as international trade, world-wide health and environmental issues and global technological changes. The site includes 11 in-depth Issue Briefs, more than 70 News Analyses, For Teachers resource section (with lesson plans and an index of alignments to U.S. state standards), Ask the Expert video interviews and a useful links section. The site is currently being translated into Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

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Teaching Tools for Globalization


This page contains various resources for educators who would like to use Globalization101.org in their classrooms. Topics include Trade, Environment, Media, Development, Women, Investment, Technology, Culture, Migration, Human Rights, IMF/World Bank, Energy, Education, Health and International Law.

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Environmental issues are often at odds with commerce. In the case of packaging, while environmentally friendly packaging is socially responsible, it is often hard to do in a cost effective manner. In this lesson, students have to balance the need for secure packaging with environmental and economic concerns. They will work together in groups of 3–4 students to create a mailing package for a fragile substance. In this case, students will be using a cookie as their substance. After the packages are finished, take them to the post office and mail them back to the students. When the packages arrive, schedule a second session to evaluate the results. Students will score their packages using a rubric. . BY ERIN DENNISTON Provided by Kenan Fellows Program.

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Economics correspondent, Paul Solmon, reports from China.

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ECONOMICS REPORT - Behind the Price of Rice

VOA listening Behind the Price of Rice

Can Americans Keep Ahead in the Global Marketplace?

This activity includes questions which are suggestions for classroom discussions, themes for student reports, and the foundation for classroom activities of all kinds related to entrepreneurship and the global marketplace. It challenges students to think of the skills and educational experiences that Americans may need to be successful entrepreneurs and productive workers in an ever-expanding global market.

The activity supports the Entrepreneurship Content Standards/Performance Indicators as follows:

• F.28 Explain the nature of international trade,

• F.29 Describe small-business opportunities in international trade,

• F.30 Determine the impact of cultural and social environments on world trade,

• F.32 Evaluation influences on a nation’s ability to trade,

• L.02 Generate product/service ideas,

• L.06 Plan product/service mix,

• L.09 Develop strategies to position product/service,

• L.15 Select target markets.

This resource is part of the Entrepreneurship Learning Activities collection.

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Are We Prepared for a Global Economy?

A discussion and dialogue about being prepared for the Global Economy.

The activity supports the Entrepreneurship Content Standards/Performance Indicators as follows:

• D.09 Explain the nature of written communications,

• F.28 Explain the nature of international trade,

• H.14 Explain the need for ongoing education as a worker,

• H.17 Utilizes resources that can contribute to professional development (e.g., trade journals/periodicals, professional/trade associations, classes/seminars, trade shows, and mentors)

This resource is part of the Entrepreneurship Learning Activities collection.

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In the wake of a flawed presidential election in December 2007, fighting erupted in Kenya, previously a model of democracy and economic success for other African nations.  After political leaders settled their differences, the rest of the country worked to rebuild.

Part 1:
1.  Introduce students to Kenya by having them work in pairs to complete Comparing Life in Kenya and the U.S. activity.

2.  On the overhead, place a copy of the Comparing Life in Kenya and the U.S. table and select volunteers to share what they learned about the facts pertaining to each country.  Record these so all groups can check their work for accuracy.

3.  Discuss the questions on page 2 of the Comparing Life in Kenya and the U.S. Activity and encourage groups to share their answers to each question.  Use this discussion as an opportunity to:

  • Discuss stereotypes and misconceptions and how these are shaped.
4.  Using the Kenya PowerPoint, review the basic information provided so that students get an understanding of the geography, people, industries, and social and political issues related to Kenya.

5.  So that students can gain a greater understanding of how political and social issues impact the daily lives of Kenyans, access Margaret Warner's reports from Kenya. 

These can be found at Kenya's Unrest by clicking on the video collection link.  Watch selections from the reports

listed below.  Possible discussion questions for each follow.



Depending on the amount of time available and the scope of the study of Kenya, teachers may elect to watch only one or two of the video segments as the focus of the lesson or they may use them as a series.  These reports could also be viewed individually by pairs or small

groups of students who can then summarize their learning for classmates.

  • Kenya Works to Mend Divisions (The video series as a whole)
    • What caused the political controversy in Kenya?
    • What is the political deal that was reached?
    • What is a coalition government?
    • What does Kofi Annan believe is necessary in order for Kenya to become strong again?
  • Questions Linger After Kenya's Political Deal
    • What caused the ethnic violence?
    • What is ethnic cleansing?
    • Why are constitutional changes being considered/made?
    • What is the power sharing agreement?
    • How will this agreement improve the lives of regular people?
  • Lacking Welfare System, Kenya's Poor Make Due
    • How do the Kenyan people cope with poverty?  Give specific examples.
    • How is this system different than what happens in the U.S.?
  • Kenya Grapples with Violence's Psychological Toll
    • Give specific examples of what causes psychological stress for Kenyans
    • What is the cause of the ethnic unrest in the country?
    • What caused this downfall in the country?
  • Kenyans Await Results of Political Deal
    • What is the deal that has been approved by the Kenyan government?
    • What worries do people have about this governmental change?
    • What do you think will happen in Kenya?  Why?
  • Violence Stems from Ethnic, Economic Disparities
    • What are some of the economic disparities between various ethnic groups?  Explain.
    • In what ways have commerce across Kenya been affected by ethnic unrest?
  • Kenyans Work to Rebuild Communities
    • Describe how ethnic violence spurred by the presidential election have affected the Kenyan people.
    • Describe life in the refugee camps
    • What steps of people taken to escape being victims of ethnic violence
    • What have the economic effects of the unrest been on individuals?  Industry? Transportation?
  • Kenya's Tourism Industry Slumps After Violence
    • List specific ways the tourism industry has been affected by the ethnic violence in Kenya.
    • In what ways is this an economic disaster for the country?
    • How are local residents being affected by the lack of tourists?
Part 2:


Depending on the specific focus of your lesson, there are several ways to proceed as you begin Part 2.  Those with a short amount of time or a specific area of focus should select one or two of the subject areas listed and have students create projects based on that topic.  For those who want a lesson with a broader view or who have a greater

amount of time available, all topics could be selected.

6.   Explain to students that they will now have an opportunity to learn more about important aspects of life in Kenya.  Break students into small groups or pairs.  From the Project List on the Project Guidelines, have students select the topic they would like to use as the focus of their project.

7.  Distribute the Project Guidelines and review them with the class.  Provide at least one class period for students to work with their partner to prepare their project.

8.  When all projects have been completed, provide class time for project presentations.

Part 3:    
9.  As a final discussion, go back to the most important issues students identified when they completed question 4 on the Comparing Life in Kenya and the U.S. Activity  Talk in detail about what was learned to confirm or dispel these ideas.  Close the discussion by returning to the Kenya PowerPoint and discussing the slides again.  Discussion points could include:

  • Unemployment and reasons why these level might be so high
  • Malaria and its effects and ways to control it
  • Explain why having an understanding of the lifestyle of the average Kenyan is important for U.S. citizens.
  • Discuss reasons why Kofi Annan and other world leaders are working to mediate problems in the Kenyan government.
Extension Activities
Continue to watch developments in Kenya by having students watch newscasts, cut out articles from news sources, and present them as current events to the class.  Set aside a poster board in an area of the classroom and note updates in a timeline format.  See if student predictions about political and social events are correct or not.

Meeting Needs and Wants: U.S. and Japanese Transportaion Innovations

(Meeting Needs and Wants: U.S. and Japanese Transportaion Innovations in the 1950s and 1960s). During World War II Japan's economy was destroyed by military attacks, use of scarce resources for military purposes, and severed trade relations. Transport was nearly impossible, and urban industrial production halted. During the 50s and 60s the government rapidly expanded investment in Japan's infrastructure: building highways, high-speed railways, subways, airports, port facilities, and dams. Students will explore not only Japan's transportation innovations during the middle of the 20th century but also look at the U.S. expansion of its highway system and the opportunity cost (trade-offs) of commuting. This unit will introduce students to U.S. and Japanese geography and population density. Students will also explore who "won" and "lost" as a result of transportation developments.

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Imperialism or Intervention

Democracy, Peace, and Development for the Bottom Billion: A Conversation with Paul Collier

This February workshop featured Paul Collier, esteemed Oxford University economist, who specializes in the political economy of democracy, economic growth in Africa, aid, globalization, poverty, and the economics of civil war. Specifically, Collier researches the causes and consequences of civil war, the effects of aid, and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural-resource-rich societies. He is the author of The Bottom Billion, winner of the 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award and 2008 Lionel Gelber Prize. His most recent book is Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places. This 50-page resource booklet provides teachers with articles and books by Paul Collier. It also includes extensive up-to-date resources and lesson plans on "democracy in difficult places;" international aid; women, education, and development; human rights, human trafficking; and global/public health.

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China's Great Leap Into The 21st Century

"Mega" seems to be the word to describe China these days, with its mega population and mega economy. Without a doubt, phenomenal change is happening all across China. What does this mean for China? What does this mean for the world? On November 8th, GC hosted Sidney Rittenberg and his wife, Yulin, who discussed not only the changes taking place in China but how their lives have been intertwined with Chinese history over the past seventy years. We encourage you to explore our fifty-some page resource packet entitled: China's Great Leap into the 21st Century. You will find lesson plans for all grade levels with timely information about China's tremendous economic growth, contentious social and political issues, and China's foreign policy. New features include: highlighted information for stimulating classroom discussion (including K-12 Discussion Questions) and new resources geared to K-6 students.

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Russia's Sakhalin Island: When Oil, Nature, and Politics Collide (PDF)

In this unit, students will examine the development of gas and oil fields on Russia's Sakhalin Island within the context of the Russian government's complex relations with the various stakeholders involved. From environmental issues to economic issues, from the multinational oil companies to the local island population, this is a rich topic that touches on a variety of important social studies concepts. Includes vocabulary terms and links to terrific online resources.

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9.8 Offshoring and Outsourcing

Students learn about off-shoring and outsourcing and examine them from several different perspectives.

This resource is part of Unit 9: Development and the Social Studies 7 course.

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