Even the savviest consumer has a problem with a good or service on occasion. It is a consumer’s right to complain when there is a genuine problem. In some situations, it is also a consumer’s responsibility. A problem can’t be fixed if no one knows it exists. In this series of three lessons, students learn how to effectively seek redress for a consumer problem. In the first lesson, they are given tips for seeking redress from a seller of a good or service via personal visits, telephone calls and letters. They write a letter in an effort to resolve a consumer problem they or someone they know has experienced. Lessons 2 and 3 focus on what to do when a consumer is unable to get a problem resolved with a seller. A variety of options are presented in both the public and private arena. Students must select sources of outside help that would be appropriate in hypothetical situations they are given.
While precise numbers are not known, it is believed the number of boycotts has grown markedly in the past fifty years. Consumers seem to be besieged by requests from special interest groups to refrain from buying certain goods and services. In this lesson, students study how boycotts have been used throughout U.S. history to help promote economic, social and political change. After researching current boycott targets, students create promotional flyers providing a glimpse at the goals people today hope to achieve through this consumer market action. Students also consider what economic and non economic factors are likely to influence the effectiveness of a boycott.
Essential Dilemma Your students will consider the following questions: In deciding to secede from the Union in 1861, did the South violate its own self-interest and thus disprove the basic economic principle that people seek to further their self-interest in the decisions they make? To get at the question, each student will assume the role of an ardent secessionist. Acting in this role, the students will apply principles of economic reasoning and use a decision grid to weigh the benefits and costs of the South's effort to create a new nation in which slavery and state's rights would forever be guaranteed by law.
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Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History uses a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. economic history to your high school students.
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