From Middle School Economics, Unit I, Lesson 2
© National Council on Economic Education, New York, NY
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After reading about a problem, students identify alternative solutions, trade-offs made in choosing each alternative, and the opportunity cost of selecting each option. Students describe trade-offs and create a graphic to rep-resent alternatives and trade-offs.
NATIONAL STANDARDSNational Standard Number: 1
Productive resources are limited. Therefore, people can not have all the goods and services they want; as a result, they must choose some things and give up others.
National Standard Number: 2
National Standard Number: 4
1.Explain that sometimes decisions result in giving up some of one thing to get some of another thing. This is called a trade-off.
2. Display transparency of Visual 1 and ask students to identify the problem in this situation. (The main gym is available only for 8 hours but the students will play 20 basketball games.) Explain there are two obvious choices. The students could use all 8 hours for girls' games or all 8 hours for boys' games.
3. Ask students to identify other options. List these on the board.
5. Divide the class into groups of 23 students. Distribute calculators and markers to each group. Ask students to illustrate as many options as they can and determine the percent of time in the large gym allotted to each group. They may use squares, circles, or rectangles
6. Distribute a copy of Activity 1 to each student. Assign each group one of the situations on the sheet. Instruct the group to determine a list of possible options, and assign time or money values.
7. Ask students to use the back side of Activity 1 to draw pie charts or graphs representing each option they have described. Instruct them to identify the choice they would make, their opportunity cost, and the trade-offs resulting from their decision.
|1. Ask groups to tell which situation they were assigned,
identify options they listed, their decision and opportunity cost, and
the trade-offs that resulted.
|1. Instruct groups to write their own decision situations
that have a variety of possible outcomes. When paragraphs are complete,
have them trade with another group, calculate percentages, and develop
a graph. Explain that depending on the options, they may wish to use something
other than a pie chart.
2. Ask students to answer the following questions in their Economics Role Journal regarding the role of lifelong decision maker.