Students will be able to:
In this economics lesson, students will explore how nations trade by importing and exporting goods and services.
Before the lesson begins, have students spend five minutes exploring the origins of the clothing and school items in the classroom. Have them check the tags on each other’s shirts and on the tongues of their shoes to find out where they were made. Look at the tags on backpacks, pencil boxes, maps, flags and any other item within reach. If available, look at technology items as well. What will be discovered is that very few, if any, of these items are made in the U.S.A. Have students write down why they think so few of our everyday items are produced in the United States and how they think these items got here. Possible answers may include that it is cheaper to make these items elsewhere, our labor force works at other types of jobs and few workers are in factories anymore, or an increasing number of Americans are going to college preparing for different types of work like doctors and lawyers.
Open the PowerPoint Slides and project the slides provided. Use the speaking notes in the PowerPoint slide for discussion points.
Assign or allow students to choose a partner to work with. Distribute a copy the Top Five Exporters to the U.S. handout to each student. Have the students work in pairs to respond to the assessment questions at the bottom of the page. The handout provides specific information about the top five countries the U.S. relies on for most of its imports. It also conveys the top goods the U.S. exports to these countries. The students should apply their understanding of comparative advantage and specialization to express the reasoning behind these nations choices. Review the answers as a class using Top Five Exporters to the U.S. Answer Key.
Assign students to complete the Mapping Exports activity. Students will use their knowledge of the U.S. and its largest trading partners to identify the countries of origin for most of America’s imports. The activity highlights China, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Germany as well as the array of products and resources produced in those countries for export. The students will drag and drop products to import into the U.S., and then complete a writing prompt to justify the import decisions they made.
Distribute copies of Which Country Imports What. Students will complete a table of countries/continent, products, and the year the products were imported. Students will find this information on the United States Census Bureau: Foreign Trade U.S. Imports. Review the answers as a class using Which Country Imports What Answer Key.
Have the students complete the Imports and Exports Throughout the World Quizlet Set.
Have students consider where their comparative advantage might exist. Have them exhibit their understanding of the concept by answering the following questions:
Grades 6-8, 9-12