Thursday, January 29, 2015

Econ Intro and Game of Life Instructions

Introduction to Econ

I hope you see the overwhelming nature of Economics -- It is EVERYWHERE!  "The study of the dismal science" is one that does touch almost all areas of our lives -- even if we are not motivated by money.

Some of the topics we mentioned that are linked to Economics were:

  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
If you grab the Business section of a newspaper, these topics will be woven into the story as well as the two integral topics we covered a) Risk and Reward

 and b) Scarcity.

Next Week

We will continue to explore economics in the next class through an introduction to statistics (check out this PDF of Statistic Essentials for Dummies).  We will have a special guest!  This information and skill-set will give us a foundation to effectively explore charts and graphs essential to Economics.

Hulk Price Infographic

Decade Assignment

Please make sure to choose a decade from history to explore Economic issues.  Prepare a quick report about the decade (5 minutes) that highlights the Economic issues, conditions and attitudes of the time.  Ex. Roaring 20's in the US.  Top jobs, Quality of Life, GDP, Tech Advances/Innovations, Social Issues, Leading Resources, Trends, Fashion, etc.  If you are interested in one area -- Ex. Health and Safety, explore that area by asking questions about how workers were treated, issues for workers, life expectancy of certain jobs, and even child labor laws.  Whatever you are interested in you are free to design your report from that perspective -- please make sure to link it to Economics in some way.

Game of Life Instructions

The Game of Life is a work in progress and a semester long project.

All The Jobs, By Occupation

Assignments for next weeks class:
  1. Choose a Career.  We are going with some basic assumptions about the career:  2 years experience if you have chosen to take the college route or 4-6 years if you have chosen another route.  Personal assumptions are made too -- you are all single now, but by the end of the project may be married.
  2. Determine an annual salary for the job you have chosen.  Break that down into a monthly salary.  Please be reasonable with your choice -- this is a game, but the goal of the project is NOT to beat someone else but to give the student an idea of how choice, resources (potential) and investment (work put forth within their chosen career) play out.  Hopefully students will examine their personal view of success within the project.  Median salary may be the best choice -- unless you can support your high salary creatively!!!
  3. Create tax forms for your potential jobs -- using the 1040 EZ form may be easiest, but PLEASE DO NOT put any personal information on the forms that could lead to issues of identity theft.  Here's a link to understanding taxes and W2 forms -- W is for Wages.
  4. Decide where in the world you will live.  
  5. Decide about transportation.  FTC Buying a New Car , Hidden Costs of Buying a Car and The Auto Decision are great resources for exploring this decision.  
  6. Decide about housing. (Decision on Buy or Rent PDF -- this file has a decision tree and is just an example of how many choices are a part of this seemingly simple decision.  You are not responsible for reading the file -- scan it and please look over the decision tree.  
  7. Decide about cost of living issues (Cost of Living Calculator) and the socioeconomic level you want to have.  
  8. Create a basic monthly budget based on these decisions.  Credit and debt will be certain issues here -- fiscal wellness is important and making wise financial decisions come into play, but your "pretend" life may have a certain amount of debt.  Please be thoughtful about how you create your budget.  Remember what we mentioned in class about signaling -- ex. High End Vehicle for a Lawyer.  Clothing choices for different careers -- professional wardrobe, etc.

Game of Life Basics

Deck of Cards

Each suit within the deck represents events or changes that impact career and socioeconomic conditions for the individual.   These events exert stress.  We'll use some events from Life Event Scales and some of our own.  

Hearts -- Positive Life Events (Eustress)
Diamonds -- Neutral Life Events that can have positive and negative economic impact depending on perspective 
Spades -- Negative Life Events (Distress)

Face Cards represent someting impacting the person.  Ex. Queen of Hearts is a personal positive event with a high value.  A 4 of Hearts is a positive event with a mid to low value.

The value of the card determines the severity or value of the event.  

1 six sided die

The sides of the die represent different external factors that impact the economy and individuals. Examples:  Governmental factors could mean state or local taxes or policies.  Natural events like weather disasters can impact the price of food.  Professional events may be a change in the job market in an area causing a move or it could be the need for further education.  And so on for each of the 6 factors.  The Personal/Choice is something that may cost, but is within their control.  

1 -- Government
2 -- Natural
3 -- Professional
4 -- Global
5 -- Finance/Investments
6 -- Personal/Choice


The class period represents two years in the game.  

Students will choose a card and roll the die at the beginning and end of each class period.  We will record the results and students are encouraged to keep a portfolio/folder of their forms, ideas, and game results.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Game of Life" Project Overview

Game of Life Intro

During the semester we will be completing a "Game of Life" project.  It will give you an opportunity to "play" with economic principles and will hopefully be a fun, educational, and interesting project!

Maybe you've played the board game Life  --  if you have,  you know it is about chance -- pulling the cards that get you the best job and landing on the spaces that grant the great things in life.  We'll be following this model, but, for the project, you can (and SHOULD) evaluate your choices instead of just pulling from a pile of cards.  In addition, you will learn to apply economic principles from class to your "Life" choices for the complete project.

To get started follow these steps:
  1. Take a Personality/Aptitude test to find jobs for which you'd be suited.  (DeVry Personality Profile; Career Tests and Career Assessments)
  2. Choose three careers to investigate.  
  3. Research and record the educational requirements, median salary, projections (potential for growth, etc.) and career satisfaction for your choices.
  4. What areas of the country have the highest demand for your careers?  What is the cost of living in those areas?
  5. Find one economics article (periodical) about a career field you have chosen.

Additional Assignments

Please read the essay,  I,  Pencil.  And read the short story, Babette's Feast.  

Here's a link to Junior Achievement Economics Vocabulary (PDF) and Economics A-Z Terms (online dictionary).  We'll be using and applying these terms throughout the semester.  Familiarize yourself with the terms and utilize the online dictionary.

Also, please start exploring famous Economists.  Here are a couple of links to try: Famous Economists and their Contributions; Influential Economists  

We'll be exploring theory and applications in this class and I encourage you to develop your own personal economics philosophy.    

We'll also have fun!  

Class Outline -- "Syllabus"

Class Description:
Economics will provide students an opportunity to develop a personal economic philosphy that equips them to be contientious and responsible citizens.  The class will cover, but is not limited to: 
  • scarcity
  • supply and demand
  • money
  • consumerism
  • role of financial institutions
  • economic stabilization
  • personal finance
  • trade
  • taxation
  • economic philisophies
  • influential economists through history
  • US Economic issues through out US History
  • global economy

Class Composition:
This course hinges upon hour-long classroom discussions at Five Rivers Coop, but requires additional work outside of class that is student/parent directed.  Below is a guide of how to, potentially, complete the required 75 hours.  This is flexible (ex. some students are readers; some project learners; some auditory learners; etc.).  Adjust and adapt your hours respectively.  
  1. 12 hours of Lecture/Discussion (Five Rivers Coop Meetings)
  2. 14 hours of Video Lecture*
  3. 25 hours of Reading*
  4. 25 hours of Projects (traditional and extension activities)*
*Student/Parent Directed

Recommended Reading List:
This book list is to help parents who are wanting to have texts for their records and for the schools where they are registered.  These books are not REQUIRED, but will help with class discussion.  Throughout the semester I will be sharing other texts and readings through the blog.

Students will get out of the class what they put into the class.  Weekly recommended readings and activities are pivotal to our class discussions.  Active participation inside and outside of class is APPRECIATED GREATLY!

The blog will be updated weekly, so please check back often!