In this module...

Learning Objectives

Concepts and Key Terms

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Animated Presentation

Articles and Other Resources

National Standards Mapping - Signs of the Economic Times View Printable Version

What have we seen as economic trends between 1980 and today? How has the drive for economic success impacted families and our daily lives? What are GDP and GNP and why do we care about them? How do underemployment and shrinking benefits impact the American dream? These are some of the questions that will be answered during this lesson. Welcome to Signs of the Economic Times, a lesson from the Teaching Economics As If People Mattered series, brought to you by United for A Fair Economy, Reach And Teach, and Tamara Sober Giecek. Everything you need to teach this lesson to a High School group, an after-school youth group, or in a faith-based organization is right here on this page.

The following information will help you prepare to have a lively, engaging, and effective hour of learning with your group.

Learning Objectives

This lesson, which takes approximately one classroom hour (55 minutes) has the following learning objectives:

  • Review economic trends from 1980 through the present.
  • Define and compare Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP per capita with Gross National Product (GNP) and GNP per capita.
  • Compare the merits of GDP and GNP as indicators of economic progress with other social indicators.
  • Explore how the drive for economic success has affected families and impacted daily lives.
  • Compare full-employment versus temporary work.
  • Discuss downward trends in availability of worker benefits including health care and retirement plans.

Concepts and Key Terms

The following concepts and key terms are covered in this lesson:

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and GDP per capita
  • Gross National Product (GNP), and GNP per capita
  • pro-family economic agenda
  • inflation
  • cooperative
  • unemployment
  • economic indicators

Download Lesson Plan

  • Click here to download the entire lesson plan (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Articles and Other Web Resources

While the lesson plan provides everything you need to carry out the lesson in your classroom, you may want to familiarize yourself with recent articles and web resources concerning the issues raised in this lesson. We have selected several for you and have linked to them below. We encourage you to explore other resources and ask that you let us know of other links we should add to this page.

National Standards Mapping

This specific contents and discussion topics provided for in this lesson map into the following National Council on Economics Education (NCEE) standards:

  • Standard 15 (Growth)
  • Standard 16 (Role of Government)
  • Standard 17 (Using Cost/Benefit Analysis to Evaluate Government Programs)
  • Standard 18 (Macroeconomy-Income/Employment, Prices)
  • Standard 19 (Unemployment and Inflation)

United for A Fair Economy (UFE) and Tamara Sober Giecek created a High School curriculum based on many of the popular seminars and programs UFE delivers to adults across the United States. The entire curriculum is available in book form through the UFE web site as well as at the Reach And Teach Store.

Reach And Teach, UFE, and Tamara Giecek are working together to update the curriculum and create an on-line version of all the lessons similar to the lesson we have provided on this page. We are currently working with various foundations and private donors to raise the money needed to bring this wonderful educational opportunity to the web. Teachers across America will be able to use the overview presentations to prepare to teach and then download the lesson plans, share ideas with other teachers about new ways to teach the lessons, and recommend additional lesson plans to the Teaching Economics team.

Would you like to help make this a reality? If so, click here to make a donation to United for A Fair Economy and click the Ten Chairs box to designate your donation to helping us get the rest of the Teaching Economics lessons on the web!


And..... while we're on the subject of people really mattering......... Reach And Teach would also like to suggest you consider this incredible math book by Edward Zaccaro. Students typically are not given the opportunity to see the wondrous side of mathematics because it is often taught as all scales and no music. Help your students:

  • Discover the power of mathematics as the danger of short-term loans is exposed in a dramatic fashion
  • Investigate math mistakes in news media and their potential consequences
  • Watch as mathematics shows the futility of depending on corn-based ethanol to lower our dependence on oil imports
  • Learn the surprising answer to how much money a hybrid car will save its owner because of reduced gasoline usage
  • Discover what mathematics tells us about teenage drivers.

These and other fascinating math investigations will allow students to see the power of mathematics as it cuts through deception and flawed thinking to reveal the truth. Click here to check out this book!

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