Short Modules for Teachers and Students
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you develop economic literacy? 15 minutes (or less) at a time.
These short modules are designed to introduce some basic economic content quickly and concisely. Then, for more depth, you can move on to some of our longer modules.
Try them, you'll like them.
- Visit the Econ Lowdown Teacher Portal to register your students for one or more of our online modules.
- Learn more about Econ Lowdown and watch a tutorial.
Comparative Advantage Short Modules
In the Comparative Advantage modules, you will meet Jack Of All Trades, a most awesome superhero. In all tasks, Jack can do everything better and faster (he has absolute advantage), but does that mean he must do everything while the rest of the people stand around helplessly? Find out if justice is served when a formerly idle citizen, Andy, wades through the depths of opportunity cost and the benefits of comparative advantage. Take one or more of the five short modules.
The Comparative Advantage Short Modules are:
- Jack of All Trades: Absolute Advantage
- Jack of All Trades: Comparative Advantage
- Jack of All Trades: Production Possibilities Frontier
- Jack of All Trades: Advanced Specialization
- Jack of All Trades: Benefits of Trade
Unemployment Short Modules
How do we know how many people are unemployed? Why are they unemployed? What can be done to get people back to work? Get the answers to these and other questions — including why education might be the best way to avoid unemployment in the future — in this series of short modules on unemployment.
The Unemployment Short Modules are:
- Consequences of Unemployment
- Education vs. Unemployment
- Measuring Unemployment
- Types of Unemployment
Once Upon a Decision
We are faced with the need to make decisions, both big and small, on a daily basis. The earlier young people learn how to make a good decision, the better their decisionmaking skills will be. In this short module, your students will read and listen to a story about Ella, who has decisions to make. While most of her decisions are easy, she runs across a hard one and employs a decisionmaking tool to solve her problem.
Suppose that you want to have a certain amount of money in the future—say $25,000 to make a down payment on a home. How much do you have to put away today to achieve that goal? Or, what if you win the lottery—do you take a lump sum payment today or equal payments over the next 26 years? Present value is a tool to help your students make choices like these.
The Art of Decisionmaking
If you look at what psychologists consider to be high-level stressors, you’ll find a list of about 40 life events. We have no control over many of these events, but for more than half, we do. So much of our stress and success in life depends on the decisions we make. In this short module, your students will learn the economic underpinnings of the need to make decisions, why every decision bears a cost, and how to make informed decisions.
In under 12 minutes, your students can complete this module which points to an important concept in economics—every choice we make has a cost—an opportunity cost. Some costs are small and relatively short-term. Others are significant. Recognizing the opportunity costs of your decisions can help you make more informed choices. This short module is designed to help you apply the idea of opportunity cost to the decisions you make.
Predicting Your Future
If you save $100 today and can earn 3% interest, how much will you have in 5 years? In 10 years? What if you add $100 a month to the account each month for 5 years at 3% interest? How much will you have? Can you buy a car in 5 years? You could just guess—but this module will help you predict your financial future with much more accuracy.
What impact does inflation have on saving? Would you rather your friend repay you the $50 he owes you today or a year from today? To make an informed decision, you need an understanding of inflation.
Paying and Receiving Interest
You’ve probably heard this quote from Shakespeare—”Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” What did Shakespeare have against borrowing and lending? Perhaps, he was concerned that the lender might not be repaid in a timely way. Or, maybe, he was fearful that friendships and family relations might be strained by people’s disagreements over loans and repayments. However, Shakespeare might not have considered the role of interest. Interest payments can allow both borrowers and lenders to benefit from their transactions. This module is designed to help you better understand paying and receiving interest.
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