JA Economics® Blended Model


JA Economics<sup>®</sup> Blended Model
JA Economics (Blended Model) is a one-semester course that connects high school students to the economic principles that influence their daily lives as well as their futures. Through a variety of experiential activities presented by the teacher and volunteer, students better understand the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in today's global economy. Volunteers engage with students through a variety of activities as subject matter guest speakers, or coaching for case study and project. Volunteer activities help students better understand the relationship between what they learn in school, their future career, and their successful participation in today's global economy.
 
 
The course addresses each of the economics standards identified by the Council for Economic Education as being essential to complete a high school economics course. Course components equip students to:
 
  • Learn the necessary concepts applicable to state and national educational standards
  • Apply economic reasoning and skills in the world around them
  • Synthesize elective concepts through a cumulative, tangible deliverable (optional case studies and/or projects)
  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for future financial literacy pathway success
  • Integrate College and Career Readiness anchor standards in Reading, Informational Text, Speaking and Listening, and Vocabulary
Pillars of Student Success Entrepreneurship:  Financial-Literacy:  Work-Readiness: 
Program Implementation Program Grade-Level
Classroom-Based High School
Program Concepts Program Skills
Allocation, Break-even point, Budgeting, Business, Business cycle, Comparative advantage, Competition, Demand, Economy, Economic freedom, Economic indicators, Economic reasoning, Economic systems, Entrepreneurship, Financial institutions, Financial markets, Free enterprise, Government policies, Gross Domestic Product, Income, Incentives, Inflation, Innovation, Interest, Invest, Law of Demand, Loss, Marginal analysis, Marginal thinking, Markets, Market-Clearing Price, Macroeconomics, Market failures, Market structure, Money, Opportunity cost, Price-allocation system, Price signals, Profit, Property rights, Production, Public goods, Resources, Rule of law, Scarcity, SMART goals, Specialization, Supply, Tax, Trade, Trade Barriers Apply economic reasoning, Apply mathematical formulas, Analyze and evaluate economic systems, Analyze national economic indicators, Analyze effects of specialization and trade, Budgeting, Compare and contrast government market decisions, Calculate profit margin and explain its importance, Evaluate outcomes of limited government, Describe the four market structures, Describe the importance of profit, Describe the effect of competition on price, Distinguish between needs and wants, Discuss market demand and demand elasticity, Explain the relationship between scarcity and opportunity costs, Examine how incentives affect decisions, Express the advantages and disadvantages of international trade, such as trade barriers and trade deficits, Identify the impact of self-interest, Identify factors that affect revenue and cost and explain how businesses respond to changes, Identify the four key productive resources, Identify characteristics of entrepreneurs, Interpret data and graphs, List the outcomes of competition, Recognize factors that influence economic freedom, Recognize the importance of small businesses, Recognize economic growth factors, Summarize the laws of supply and demand, Track the flow of money and resources through the economy

Program Sessions

1.1 Scarcity and Opportunity Cost

Unit 1: Elements of the Economy
Why does scarcity matter?
 
In Unit One, students are introduced to the fundamental concepts of scarcity and opportunity costs faced in their daily lives. Then, they explore how resources are allocated by people and groups in response to scarcity. Next, students explore how business owners and managers make decisions, using economic reasoning. Finally, they will further investigate the world of startups and other businesses.
 
Resources in the Teacher Guide are organized into three categories:
  • Unit Project
  • Case Study
  • Classroom Activities—by theme
 
1.1 Scarcity and Opportunity Cost 
What choice do I have? 
 
If goods and services have improved most people's lives over time, why doesn't everyone have everything they need and want? Students will learn that goods and services are limited, as are all resources. At the same time, people's wants are virtually unlimited. Students explore the following topics:
  • Economics and choices
  • People's needs and wants
  • Consumers and self-interest
  • Production of goods and services
 

1.2 Allocation and Decision Making

Unit 1: Elements of the Economy
Why does scarcity matter?
 
1.2 Allocation and Decision
Is there a best choice?
 
Sound decision making is based on weighing the marginal costs and marginal benefits. To get the most value out of the resources available, choose only those actions that promise marginal benefits that are equal to or greater than marginal costs. Individuals, businesses, and countries will be more prosperous when their choices reflect the implications of thinking on the margin and using comparative advantage to specialize. Students explore the following topics:
  • Tools for allocating resources
  • Consumers and marginal thinking
  • Comparative advantage and specialization for individuals
  • Economic systems: How nations allocate resources
 

1.3 Business Decisions

Unit 1: Elements of the Economy
Why does scarcity matter?
 
1.3 Business Decisions
How do businesses make choices?
 
Businesses' success stems from continually satisfying their own consumers. Businesses are rewarded for doing so through a steady stream of profits. These profits allow them to produce more or invest their profits. Economic reasoning and marginal analysis help business owners make sound production and investment choices. Students explore the following topics:
  • Why be in business?
  • Business behavior
  • What to sell?
  • Economic goals in the market economy.

1.4 Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership

Unit 1: Elements of the Economy
Why does scarcity matter?
 
1.4 Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership
How do businesses start, survive, and thrive?
 
The entrepreneurial path requires continual decision making around how to make effective use of scarce resources. Discovering the right price is one of many decisions an entrepreneur is going to have to make to begin and grow a startup. Entrepreneurs must make continuous decisions about whether to stay on the current path and persevere or pivot and turn in another direction where the opportunity cost is lower. Students explore the following topics:
  • Recipe for a successful business startup
  • Information-based decisions
  • Single business life cycle
  • Business ownership

2.1 Consumers Rule

Unit 2: Markets

Why do consumers and business owners need each other?
 
In Unit Two, students examine each major component of the market: consumers who have market demands, producers who supply goods and services to the market, market equilibrium, and various market structures. Next, students explore the concept of economic growth: elements that support economic growth, competition, human and physical capital, financial markets, as well as the effects of entrepreneurship and technology. Finally, they investigate how economic systems and structures affect markets and economic growth.
 
Resources in the Teacher Guide are organized into three categories:
  • Unit Project
  • Case Study
  • Classroom Activities—by theme
 
2.1 Consumers Rule
How do consumers influence what is available in the market?
 
Students learn about the economic term demand and investigate how economic demand explains how consumers influence the market, letting producers know what they want and are willing to buy. Students explore the following topics:
  • Price-Allocation System
  • Law of Demand
  • The Demand Curve
  • Consumer Demand Changes

2.2 Producers Provide

Unit 2: Markets

Why do consumers and business owners need each other?
 
2.2 Producers Provide
How do producers and consumers negotiate price with each other?
 
Students learn about the economic term supply as they examine the effect producers have in the market. Students explore the following topics:
  • Supply Boot Camp
  • Supply Shifters
  • Market-Clearing Price
  • Competition and Market Structure

2.3 Economic Growth

Unit 2: Markets

Why do consumers and business owners need each other?
 
2.3 Economic Growth
What makes economic growth possible?
 
 
Students explore how consumers and business owners need each other as they focus on economic growth and what makes growth possible. They learn about the specific foundational elements needed in a society to allow for economic growth and general wealth, including the following:
  • Rule of law and property rights
  • Competition drives growth
  • Human and physical capital and financial markets
  • Entrepreneurship and technological advances

2.4 Economic Systems and Structures

Unit 2: Markets

Why do consumers and business owners need each other?
 
2.4 Economic Systems and Structures
What happens when government expands its influence in market decisions?
 
 
Students take a deeper look at how different economic systems influence their daily lives. They will consider the question, "What happens when government expands its influence in market decisions?" as they learn about the following topics:
  • Economic systems and the market
  • Government versus market-based decisions
  • Government and growth
  • Economic freedom

3.1 Government's Role in a Flourishing Market Economy

Unit 3: National Economy
Does government play a role?
 
First, students study the economy at the national level. Then, students look beyond limited government as its role expands to influence the national economy. Next, students examine what economic tools an expanded government uses and how and when those tools are used. Finally, students learn how to be an "everyday economist," evaluating for themselves
whether the economy is healthy.
 
Resources in the Teacher Guide are organized into three categories:
  • Unit Project
  • Case Study
  • Classroom Activities—by theme
 
3.1 Government's Role in a Flourishing Market Economy
How can limited government help consumers and businesses prosper?
 
 
Students will learn more about the government's role in the economy. They will consider the question, "How can limited government help consumers and businesses prosper?" as they learn about the following topics:
  • Property rights, public goods, and market failures
  • The role of financial markets
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Economics of government failures

3.2 The Role of the Federal Government

Unit 3: National Economy
Does government play a role?
 
3.2 The Role of the Federal Government
What are the effects of fiscal policies?
 
 
Students examine the effects of fiscal policies (spending and taxing) as they learn more about the role the government plays in the economy. Students will look at the following topics as they frame an answer to the essential question,
"What are the effects of fiscal policies?"
  • Introduction to macroeconomics
  • Business cycles and unemployment
  • Fiscal policies
  • Taxes, spending, deficits, and debt

3.3 The Role of Money and Banking

Unit 3: National Economy
Does government play a role?
 
3.3 The Role of Money and Banking
What are the effects of monetary policies?
 
 
Students examine monetary policies. They will take a closer look at the importance of money, how it changes value over time, and the availability of it through credit. As they frame an answer to the question, "What are the effects of monetary policies?" These are the topics they will investigate:
  • Money in a modern economy
  • Interest rates
  • Inflation

3.4 National Economic Indicators

Unit 3: National Economy
Does government play a role?
 
3.4 National Economic Indicators
How do you measure the success of the economy?
 
 
Students learn more about national economic indicators, exploring the macroeconomic data that policy makers collect, monitor, analyze, and use to make forecasts in order to make policy choices. They will examine the effects of policy decisions and economic freedom on business and household affairs. Students will explore the following topics as they frame an answer to the essential question, "How do you measure the success of the economy?"
  • Macroeconomic indicators
  • Everyday economist: how can I know how we are doing?
  • "No policy" option: economic freedom

4.1 International Trade

Unit 4: Open to Debate: Government or Market Solutions

Why do countries trade?
 
First, students are asked to weigh the benefits and costs of trade at the international level by examining the extremes between a (mostly) closed and a (mostly) open society. Then, they investigate the benefits and costs of using trade policy, such as trade barriers. Next, students take on the issue of trade deficits. They wrap up the unit by exploring some international social issues and they examine who can best address those issues—the international market or the governments in the countries involved.
 
Resources in the Teacher Guide are organized into three categories:
  • Unit Project
  • Case Study
  • Classroom Activities—by theme
 
4.1 International Trade
Do the benefits of international trade outweigh the costs?
 
 
Some people want free and open trade of goods, services, and resources sold internationally with limited government interference. On the other hand, some people feel we'd be better off if the government closed the borders and made the country more self-sufficient. Students learn about each of the two perspectives to make an informed decision about these opposing approaches to trade.

4.2 Trade Policies: Beyond Free Trade

Unit 4: Open to Debate: Government or Market Solutions

Why do countries trade?
 
4.2 Trade Policies: Beyond Free Trade
Do the benefits of trade barriers outweigh the costs?
 
 
Trade barriers, by design, slow or prevent trade with another country by adding a limitation on the free trade between the buyers and sellers. These take different forms and lead to different outcomes—both intended and unintended. Students examine the benefits and costs of building trade barriers between international borders as they form an answer to the question, "Do the benefits of trade barriers outweigh the costs?"

4.3 Trade Deficits

Unit 4: Open to Debate: Government or Market Solutions

Why do countries trade?
 
4.3 Trade Deficits
Do the benefits of a trade deficit outweigh the costs?
 
 
Students learn about imports and exports and how these global exchanges influence the United States economy. Today, with more openness to international trade, the share of the total RGDP that is made up of exports and imports is over 30 percent. Students explore what it means to us as a country when we are importing more than we're exporting— meaning a trade deficit—as they answer the question, "Do the benefits of a trade deficit outweigh the costs?"

4.4 Social Problems: Government or Market Solutions?

Unit 4: Open to Debate: Government or Market Solutions

Why do countries trade?
 
4.4 Social Problems: Government or Market Solutions?
Can economics solve social problems?
 
 
Students learn about the impact of global trade on social issues. They explore ways the free market and government policies can address social issues as they frame an answer to the question: "Can economics solve social problems?"osts?"

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