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.)
COMPELLING QUESTION Why do politicians disagree on economic issues—isn’t there one right answer? Students work in small groups and are assigned a version of diary excerpts written by a student intern working for a policymaking legislator. Half the groups read a diary that focuses on stability, security, and equity as broad social goals. The other half read a diary that focuses on freedom, efficiency, and growth. Students determine which broad social goals are emphasized in their reading. During a debriefing, students will discuss broad social goals and identify how trade-offs arise when a society pursues competing social goals. Finally, students choose a current social issue and develop a public policy to deal with that issue, identifying the goals they are attempting to achieve and trade-offs that might arise in terms of other worthy goals.
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.
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