Capital Chips (Part 3)
This lesson printed from:
Posted July 30, 2002
Author: Council for Economic Education Technology Staff
Posted: July 30, 2002
Updated: June 10, 2009
Through the use of a historical timeline of the capital investments made by the company the resulting benefits will be examined. The benefits from the capital investments of Herr Foods, Inc. will be related to their effect on the standard of living. Then students will visit one of three websites, select an innovation/invention of their choice to analyze in terms of its impact on productivity and the standard of living. Finally, the teacher will select one invention/innovation from a designated website and have students analyze it in the same economic terms as the focus of this lesson and write an essay summarizing the innovation/invention.
Productivity is a measurement of output resulting from the use of productive resources or inputs. It refers to the amount of output per unit of input over a period of time. An increase in productivity may mean producing the same amount with fewer inputs, producing more output with the same inputs, or a combination of the two. Companies look for ways to maintain and increase the level of productivity in order to remain competitive while maintaining profits. One way of accomplishing this is through investing in capital goods such as machines, tools, and new ideas used in the production process. Technological improvements in capital goods are a leading cause of increase in productivity.
After completing the following activities, your students will develop a better understanding of the economics associated with productivity. In the first activity your students will explore the concepts that are connected to productivity. In the second activity your students will investigate the Herr's Potato Chips, a company that is constantly working at incorporating new techniques to satisfy the customer. Finally, in the third activity your students will use the Internet to search for inventors and inventions. Their task is to find an invention they would like to learn more about and learn how that invention improves its environment. After your students complete all three parts to this lesson they will find a series of questions that will explore what they have learned from Capital Chips about productivity.
In this lesson the students will hunt the web again--searching for inventors and inventions. Their mission is to find an invention they would like to learn more about and learn how that invention improves its environment.
- Group the students in pairs.
- Direct the pairs to one of the following web sites
Forgotten Inventors (Click on the word "Forgotten Inventors")
20th Century Inventions
- Instruct the pairs to use the Internet to select one technological innovation/invention and answer the questions in the following handout for the one they've selected.
PDF Interactive Handout PDF Print Handout
- Have the student pairs draw a picture of the innovation they selected and label it [name of invention, date invented, and inventor (if known)] on a plain piece of 8.5 X 11 paper.
- Have the students list the benefits of the invention on a separate piece of 8.5 X 11 piece of paper.
- Create a classroom timeline of the drawings of the innovations and their benefits to the producer, consumer, and worker (if all apply).
- Allow time for pairs to share their selected innovations and the benefits associated with them.
The hunt is over.
Have the students select an invention or innovation from the web sites below.
Tell the students that they are going to write a final essay about a specific innovation.
They must include the following information in their papers:
- How this innovation may have resulted in increased productivity.
- Examples of where an increase in productivity would be realized because of this innovation.
- Summary of the benefits of this innovation including an explanation of the impact of the innovation on the producer, consumer, and worker. This summary may be incorporated in the response to the following question, which the students must answer in their papers.
Assuming you are a business owner, explain why you would invest in this new innovation for your business. Make sure you describe the type of business you are in. Explain all of the benefits that you would expect to gain from this innovation. Explain the impact of this innovation on the consumers of your product or service; also explain its impact on you and your workers.