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Calendar Item: Circuit Breaker Used On Wall Street on November 24, 1997


The Columbian Exchange

In this lesson, students learn that the Columbian Exchange resulted in an enormous exchange of goods, resources, and institutions between the Old World and the New World and that the results of the Exchange were both positive and negative. The lesson begins with an activity in which students are divided into two groups: Old World consumers and New World consumers. Students are given food cards to keep or trade within each group, and later, among consumers from both groups. Although the expansion of trade provides students with more choices and has positive effects, some trades result in negative effects. A second activity summarizes some of the positive and negative impacts of the Columbian Exchange, some of which students experience in the first activity. A final activity describes Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec civilization that had a relatively well-developed economy in the 15th century despite the lack of capital resourcessuch as iron tools, wheels, and draft animals. The Aztecs adopted legal institutions that protected property rights and supported a market economy. The Spanish, who conquered the Aztecs in 1521, replaced these with institutions that restricted the ability of the native population of Mexico to produce and trade. Similar restrictions were imposed by European colonizers in other New World areas. Students learn that, in addition to the exchange of plants, animals, and culture, the exchange of institutions between the Old World and the New World had an important impact on the future economic growth of countries in the Western Hemisphere. 

Grades: 9-12
Published: 12/31/2011

Public Choice Economics

Students participate in a series of classroom elections to analyze special-interest effects and see how the costs of voting and acquiring information about candidates or propositions on a ballot affect whether or not people vote, and, if they do, how informed they will be. Students examine the causes and consequences of logrolling and other collusion by elected officials. Finally, students determine whether Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium is an example of public choice theory in action. COMPELLING QUESTION Does voting always result in the best choice?

Grades: 9-12
Published: 04/26/2016

Are the Best Things in Life Free?

Students use economic reasoning to analyze the costs and consequences of marital choice. "The best things in life are free." This idea is widely expressed as a maxim by people who know nothing of its origin. They know it's true through intuition and common sense. In this lesson students analyze choices that married couples make in order to understand that, contrary to expectations, these choices do have costs.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 02/16/1998

Related Publications

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.


Risky Business DVD

Use this DVD program to show students how to live healthy, wealthy and risk-free.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2007

10 out of 12 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

Capstone: Exemplary Lessons for High School Economics - Teacher's Guide

This publication contains complete instructions for teaching the lessons in Capstone. When combined with a textbook, Capstone provides activities for a complete high school economics course. 45 exemplary lessons help students learn to apply economic reasoning to a wide range of real-world subjects.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2003

10 out of 45 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

Energy, Economics, and the Environment: Case Studies and Teaching Activities for High School

This publication helps students analyze energy and environment issues from an economics perspective.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2006

6 out of 10 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.