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Why do people work so hard? Why aren't you just assigned a job that you are interested in and get paid as much as the next guy? This lesson will show you why employers want the best workers that their money can buy!

KEY CONCEPTS

Human Capital, Human Resources, Investment

STUDENTS WILL

  • Examine the correlation between education and salaries.
  • Conclude that training increases a person's value to an employer.

INTRODUCTION

Tell the students that teachers tell them to do homework, but ask them why they have to do it now? Ask the students if they are going to spend the rest of their life working? Tell the students that in this lesson they will learn something about education or training that may encourage them to take your school work seriously. Tell the students that they will find out how education and training are related to the amount of money people earn on their jobs.

RESOURCES

  • Education Pays Big Dividends: This PDF features a chart that shows average yearly gross earnings by educational levels in 2001.
    www.usatoday.com/educate/careers/quest/cq17.pdf
     
  • Interactive Activity: Students will complete this interactive activity that describes situations in which they assume that they are an employer. In each case they must decide which person they would be willing to pay a higher wage.
    Interactive Activity

PROCESS

Tell the students that they probably know that Productive Resources are natural resources, human resources, and capital resources. Explain to the students that all of these combine to help produce the goods and services that we want. Consumers are the buyers of the goods and services and producers are the sellers of those goods and services.

Tell the student that what they may not know is that workers "sell" their labor and employers "buy" that labor. Explain to them that employers are willing to pay higher wages and salaries to employees that are the best workers.

Have the students complete the interactive activity that describes situations in which they assume that they are an employer. In each case they must decide which person they would be willing to pay a higher wage:

Tell the students that teachers, like employers, are paying students different amounts based on how much students produce and the quality of that work. Ask the students the question of how the teachers can pay the students? Explain to them that teachers pay the students by giving them grades. The better the work, the higher the grade. Tell the students that they can invest in their future right now by getting the highest grades that they can.

Explain to the students that now that they know that people earn income by exchanging their human resources for wages, they can find out how they can earn a better income.

Tell the students to look at a job like a meteorologist (reports on weather) and see what one guy has to say about his job.

Have the students go to the USA Today website and look at the article called "Stanley Czyzyk, Hurricane Hunter " and read the last two answers in the interview. The last two questions are: (1) What advice would you give someone who wanted to enter this field? (2) What advice would you give someone who was trying to attain his or her dream job? Then have the students read the information in the blue box and answer these questions:

  1. What is the salary of a meteorologist? [The salary of a meteorologist is 19,000 - $60,000.]
     
  2. Why is there such a big difference in the highest and lowest salary a meteorologist could make? [The salary of a meteorologist depends on the worker's degree and experience.]
     
  3. What was Stanley Czyzyk's advice for people wanting to be a meteorologist? [ His advice is to study math and science.]

Now read the last two answers on the next site. Be sure and read the bright pink box, too.

Have the students go to the USA Today website and look at the article called: Yvonne Borree, ballet dancer, New York City Ballet and answer the following questions.

  1. Is there a big salary difference for dancers? [Yes, there is a big salary difference for dancers.]
     
  2. What sort of training is involved to be a dancer? [Dance classes beginning in childhood are necessary to become a professional dancer.]
     
  3. Is there a market for a ballet dancer who has not had training? [No, there is not a market for a ballet dancer who has not had training.]

Have the students read one more site. This time have them read just the purple box. Have the students go to the USA Today website and look at the article "Mike Costache, Investment Banker " and answer the following questions. Tell them that they might need to know that $70K means $70,000 and $100K means $100,000.

  1. About how much would an investment banker make right out of college? [An investment banker would make about $70K or $70,000 right out of college.]
     
  2. About how much would an investment banker make after getting a Masters degree? [An investment banker would make about $100K or $100,000 after getting a Masters degree.]
     
  3. Based on these three sites, what can you conclude about training and education and their affect on salaries? [Based on these three sites, one could conclude that the higher the degree, or the more training you have, the higher the salary.]
     
  4. What job would you like to have?
    [Opinion Answer]
     
  5. What can you do right now to make yourself valuable to your future employer?
    [Answers will vary, look for find entry level employment or continue education.]

ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

Read the article "Career Snapshopts " and answer the following questions.

 

  1. Analyze the data in the chart. What statement can you make about education and the average yearly salary? [According to the data in the chart, the higher the education, the higher the salary.]
     
  2. Based on the sites about careers, what statement can you make about training and salary? [Based on the sites about careers, the more training a person has, the higher the salary.]
     
  3. Based on the data you have studied in this lesson, predict what you need to do right now for your future.
    [Answers will vary. Should center around getting more training and experience.] 
     
  4. What do you need to do in the next few years?
    [Stay in school, find entry level employment opportunities to gain work experience.]
     
  5. What do you need to do when you are an adult?
    [Find higher education opportunities in your chosen career, gain as much training and experience as possible.]

CONCLUSION

Tell the students that in this lesson, they have learned that people earn income by exchanging their human resources for wages. They have been shown that people's wages are higher as their education or training increases because, with more education or training, they are likely to be of greater value to the employer.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

Use the Highest Paid Careers site to provide students with some more information on the highest paid occupations.

Use this "Education pays big dividends" PDF which features a chart that shows average yearly gross earnings by educational levels in 2001 to show students the benefits of education.

EDUCATOR REVIEWS

  • “On a positive note, this lesson was great because it makes real-world connections, has interactive elements, and challenges higher-level thinking from the students.”

    Marie, Andrea, Rebecca, Marice, & Ashley, Ohio State University   POSTED ON November 19, 2007

  • Review from EconEdReviews.org

    Great lesson on human capital. Excellent interviews with people in variety of careers.

    “I'm looking for really good human capital lessons that could be used in middle school. I love the interviews in this lesson and the follow-up questions that go with each.”

    Suzanne G   POSTED ON November 2, 2011

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