With the start of the new year in 2002, the 12 members of the European Union launched a single currency across their borders, replacing individual country currencies and singling out the Euro as their one shared monetary denomination. Marketplace, a daily economics news program heard on National Public Radio, featured a story on January 2, 2002 about the currency change of the landmark event. (This lesson should be used as an introduction to this topic. There is another Economics Minute The Euro Makes its Debut that would be a good follow-up to this lesson.)
The students investigate money--its purpose and functions. They complete an exercise, using the online acution site Ebay, to learn why money is critical to an economy.
In April 2002, Argentina's economic situation seemed to be getting worse and worse. Banks closed for nine days before reopening on April 29, 2002. How did Argentinians function during that time? Amy Radil of NPR reported on the flourishing barter economy that sprung up through necessity. Her report provides background information for the students in this lesson as they examine inflation, barter systems, and the use of currency.
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