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.  


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