Students view a video and answer questions about Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Graphs of real GDP per capita are used to demonstrate that the same set of data can be shown in different ways. Students are introduced to the concept of misleading graphs and complete an activity to identify misleading aspects of graphs. Working in groups, students support a given headline statement by manipulating a graph using an interactive tool. This will teach scale, origin, and units on a graph along with what makes a graph misleading. The lesson assumes students are able to calculate rate of change.
Students learn the meaning and measurement of six important economic indicators and use the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank National Economic Trends website to assess the current state of the economy.
Economics is often called the "science of decision making." The decisions that economists analyze range from personal decisions such as how big a pizza to order or whether to buy or lease a new car to the decisions the federal government makes about things like the size of our military. Economists use information about these, and other decisions, to develop indicators that can be used to determine the health of our economy. Just as a physician relies on indicators such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate to determine the health of a patient, economists use indicators like gross domestic product growth, the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation to predict our nation's economic health.