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Interactive Tool: Making Sen$e with Paul Solman: Sounding an alarm on economic dysfunction by practicing sustainable living


The History of Social Security

ESSENTIAL DILEMMA: Social Security Act of 1935: Did the creation of a federally administered old-age pension program support or threaten American values and traditions?

Grades: 9-12
Published: 04/14/2016

The Columbian Exchange

In this lesson, students learn that the Columbian Exchange resulted in an enormous exchange of goods, resources, and institutions between the Old World and the New World and that the results of the Exchange were both positive and negative. The lesson begins with an activity in which students are divided into two groups: Old World consumers and New World consumers. Students are given food cards to keep or trade within each group, and later, among consumers from both groups. Although the expansion of trade provides students with more choices and has positive effects, some trades result in negative effects. A second activity summarizes some of the positive and negative impacts of the Columbian Exchange, some of which students experience in the first activity. A final activity describes Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec civilization that had a relatively well-developed economy in the 15th century despite the lack of capital resourcessuch as iron tools, wheels, and draft animals. The Aztecs adopted legal institutions that protected property rights and supported a market economy. The Spanish, who conquered the Aztecs in 1521, replaced these with institutions that restricted the ability of the native population of Mexico to produce and trade. Similar restrictions were imposed by European colonizers in other New World areas. Students learn that, in addition to the exchange of plants, animals, and culture, the exchange of institutions between the Old World and the New World had an important impact on the future economic growth of countries in the Western Hemisphere. 

Grades: 9-12
Published: 12/31/2011

Henry Ford and the Model T: A Case Study in Productivity (Part 1)

When Henry Ford announced he was going to produce an automobile that would be affordable to the masses, he probably did not realize what a great impact his achievement would have on life in the United States and, eventually, the world. Ford’s use of mass production strategies to manufacture the Model T revolutionized industrial manufacturing and initiated a new era in personal transportation. This three-part learning unit provides students with the story of Henry Ford and the Model T from an economics perspective. Parts 1 and 2 explore how the Ford Motor Company successfully introduced mass production strategies to the auto industry. Students learn how specialization and investments in capital (machines, people, etc.) increased productivity and allowed Ford to slash the price of his popular vehicle. Students chart a plan for the assembly-line production of bookmarks, test their plan, and make recommendations for improvements. Students also explore how Henry Ford used economic incentives to address a problem created by mass production techniques—worker turnover. An optional Part 3 explains how increased productivity resulted in shifts in the supply and demand for the Model T. Students analyze how a variety of non-price determinants continue to influence the automobile market today. The unit also presents a wealth of extension activities.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 01/05/2007

Related Publications

The following lessons come from the Council for Economic Education's library of publications. Clicking the publication title or image will take you to the Council for Economic Education Store for more detailed information.


Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide

This publication contains complete instructions for teaching the lessons in Capstone. When combined with a textbook, Capstone provides activities for a complete high school economics course. 45 exemplary lessons help students learn to apply economic reasoning to a wide range of real-world subjects.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2003

7 out of 45 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History

Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History uses a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. economic history to your high school students.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2006

4 out of 40 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

World History: Focus on Economics

With lessons combining economics and world history, students discover how people and nations developed as a result of making decisions based on maximizing local resources.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 1996

3 out of 12 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.