To get started, the students will read Lyddie, a novel by Katherine Paterson. The novel is set mainly in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1840s. In Lowell the main character, 13-year-old Lyddie Worthen, works six days a week, from dawn until dusk, running weaving looms in a murky dust-and lintfilled factory, trying to save enough money to reunite her family. In reading and discussing this fine novel, the students examine basic economic concepts and explore the growth of labor unions and the role of government in a market economy. Lyddie is published by Puffin Books and is available at Amazon.com. It is also available in DVD video format and may be purchased on line at Circuit City, DVD Empire.com and Overstock.com.
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.
This lesson focuses on the scarce and nonrenewable nature of fossil fuels in order to stimulate student thinking about energy conservation. It emphasizes the fact that saving energy can be good for the wallet as well as the earth's future. Students play a memory game that challenges them to find people-powered substitutes for things that use electricity and gas. Students then use the federally-mandated EnergyGuide labels to estimate the cost savings of energy- efficient home appliances. In a final activity, students explore positive and negative economic incentives that motivate people to conserve energy. Many federal energy-related programs and policies are featured in this lesson. These include, besides the Energy Guide label, EnergyStar certification, the Fuel Economy Guide for motor vehicles, and a diverse collection of taxes, tax breaks and subsidies. In this lesson, students examine options for reducing their dependence on energy resources, especially by substituting people power for other forms of energy and purchasing energy efficient home appliances. Students also explore some of the government programs that are influencing consumer choices in the marketplace.
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.
Students use economic reasoning to investigate 15 environmental mysteries.
5 out of 15 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.
Created specifically for middle school mathematics teachers, this publication shows how mathematics concepts and knowledge can be used to develop economic and personal financial understandings.
2 out of 12 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.
This publication contains 17 lessons that complement the 6-8 Student Workbook. Specific to grades 6-8 are a variety of activities, including developing criteria that students think would make a good graham cracker and taste-testing to determine which graham cracker meets their needs; deciding which activities are better suited to careers or hobbies; and learning how important planning is to the success of any goal or event.
2 out of 19 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.