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Math in the Real World

Many economics and personal finance concepts overlap with math curriculum, but economics and personal finance teachers are not trained to teach complex calculations and formulas, and math teachers may not focus on the personal finance and economic applications. A new CEE resource, Math in the Real World, brings together the expertise of math teachers and economics teachers to create interdisciplinary lessons that teach important personal finance and economic concepts in the context of math lessons.

Lesson

Buy and Hold: A Stock Market Simulation

In this economics lesson, students will learn how the stock market works by participating in a historical simulation.
Key Concepts: Financial Investments, Financial Markets, Risk and Return
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Compound Interest

Students learn what compound interest is, how it is calculated, and appreciate the impact it makes on loans and investments.…
Key Concepts: Balance of Trade and Balance of Payments, Credit, Interest…
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Saving

Students take an interest inventory test that gives them a list of careers from which to choose. Once they select…
Key Concepts: Balance of Trade and Balance of Payments, Budgeting, Roles of Government
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Distribution of Income

Students engage in a simulation to explore how productivity influences the distribution of income and how government policy influences the…
Key Concepts: Distribution of Income, Income Distribution, Productivity
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Spending Multipliers

Students learn the definition of marginal propensity to consume and marginal propensity to save. After spending time practicing computing what…
Key Concepts: Aggregate Demand, Balance of Trade and Balance of Payments, Consumers…
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Rates of Change

This lesson uses a classic video clip to introduce variable and fixed inputs. Students participate in an activity that demonstrates…
Key Concepts: Business Costs and Revenues, Profit
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Exchange Rates

Students describe and identify where certain items they own come from and the approximate price of these items. They learn…
Key Concepts: Depreciation of a Currency, Foreign Exchange
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Deriving Marginalism

This lesson creates a connection between derivatives and marginalism. Students will be engaging in a set of scaffolding activities that…
Key Concepts: Business Costs and Revenues, Profit
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Using Slope to Compute Opportunity Cost

Students learn the basic economic concept of opportunity cost and draw a production possibilities frontier to learn the constraints a…
Key Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Goods and Services
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When Graphs Mislead Us

Students view a video and answer questions about Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Graphs of real GDP per capita are used…
Key Concepts: Economic Development, Fiscal Policy, GDP
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How Expensive are Payday Loans?

Students will learn how a payday loan works by watching a video. They will learn that payday loans are an…
Key Concepts: Credit, Interest
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Profit Maximization

In this lesson students solve an optimization problem based on the real-world example of profit maximization. Students analyze a revenue…
Key Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Demand, Profit…
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Break-Even Analysis

Students participate in a group activity in which they are assigned a business. They use breakeven analysis to calculate the…
Key Concepts: Business Costs and Revenues, Goods and Services, Profit
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Earning Credit

Students participate in a series of activities that provide them with a simulated credit score and an auto loan interest…
Key Concepts: Credit, Interest, Risk and Return
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Cost/Benefit Analysis:Three Gorges Dam

This lesson will allow students to evaluate the costs/benefits of the Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River in…
Key Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Goods and Services
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How is Our Economy Doing?

Students learn the meaning and measurement of six important economic indicators and use the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank National…
Key Concepts: Balance of Trade and Balance of Payments, Credit, Employment and Unemployment…
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It Pays to Stay in School

This lesson examines some of the incentive programs being offered to keep students in school
Key Concepts: Balance of Trade and Balance of Payments, Choice, Division of Labor/Specialization…
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Why Adopt a Highway?

Students learn about the successful Adopt-a-Highway program and how it can save governments and taxpayers money.
Key Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Market Structures, Roles of Government
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Multipliers and the Mystery of the Magic Money

Students learn about the purpose of the reserve requirement, how money is "created" in the economy through fractional reserves, and…
Key Concepts: Economic Institutions, Fiscal Policy, Markets and Prices
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Unemployment in My Hometown

Students use the Bureau of Labor Statistics website to track unemployment rates for their community, and after researching information about…
Key Concepts: Employment and Unemployment
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Activity

Break-Even Analysis Activity

This interactive graphs the break-even point using the equation, Breakeven Quantity (BEQ) = Fixed Costs / (Total Revenue per Job…
Key Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis, Goods and Services, Profit
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Taxes and Income

This interactive can be used to review progressive, regressive and proportional taxes. Refer to the Math in the Real World…
Key Concepts: Income Distribution
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Exchange Rate Calculator

Exchange rate calculator which displays the amount of expenses in USD Today and USD Two Months Ago. Students can use…
Key Concepts: Foreign Exchange
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Production Possibilities Frontier

Learn how the math concept of slope can be used to model the opportunity cost of a production possibilities frontier.…
Key Concepts: Decision Making/Cost-Benefit Analysis
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Income Distribution

Students create an income distribution for a fictitious country to learn about quintiles. The interactive calculates the median and mean…
Key Concepts: Distribution of Income, GDP, Income Distribution
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