Students will be able to use this knowledge to: Identify what they gain and what they give up when they make choices.
Students face many choices every day. Is playing video games the best use of their time? Is working at a fast-food restaurant better than the best alternative job or some other use of their time? Identifying and systematically comparing alternatives enables people to make more informed decisions and to recognize often overlooked relevant consequences of choices they or others make.
Some students believe that they can have all the goods and services they want from their family or from the government because goods provided by family or by governments are free. But this view is mistaken. Resources have alternative uses, even if parents or governments own them. For example, if a city uses land to build a football stadium, the best alternative use of that land must be given up. If additional funds are budgeted for police patrols, less money is available to hire more teachers. Explicitly comparing the value of alternative opportunities that are sacrificed in any choice enables citizens and their political representatives to weigh the alternatives in order to make better economic decisions. This analysis also makes people aware of the consequences of their actions for themselves and others, and could lead to a heightened sense of responsibility and accountability.
You can find additional online lessons on US Standard 1 from the Council for Economic Education Website.
The 4th grade benchmarks introduce the concepts of scarcity, choice, and opportunity cost. Factors that influence spending choices, such as advertising, peer pressure, and spending choices of others, are analyzed. Attention is given to comparing the costs and benefits of spending decisions. The basics of budgeting and planning are introduced. The 8th grade benchmarks expand upon these concepts. More attention is paid to making a spending decision. Payment methods are introduced along with the importance of weighing the costs and benefits of each. Budgeting is discussed in more detail, including the classification of expenses. The 12th grade benchmarks frame a consumers decision using economic ideas such as satisfaction, determinants of demand, costs of information search, choice of product durability and other features, and the role of government and other institutions in providing information for consumers.