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Elementary School | Social Studies | Economics

Understand economic systems, with an emphasis on the United States. People's lives are directly affected by the economies of cities, states, nations and the world. All people engage in economic activity: buying, selling, trading, producing and consuming. By understanding economic systems—and how economics blends with other social sciences, students will be able to make more informed choices, prudently use resources and function as effective participants in the economies around them.

Learning Objectives

Understand how different economic systems operate in the exchange, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services:

  • Explain how market prices signal producers about what, how and how much to produce.
  • Explain the relationship between productivity and wages.
  • Describe the relationship between consumer purchases and businesses paying for productive resources.
  • Describe the causes of unemployment (e.g., seasonal fluctuation in demand, changing jobs, changing skill requirements, national spending).

Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers:

  • Describe the “market clearing price” of a good or service.
  • Explain the effects of choice and competition on individuals and the economy as a whole.

Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by producers:

  • Identify and explain the effects of various incentives to produce a good or service.

Understand trade as an exchange of goods or services:

  • Explain the effects of increasing and declining imports and exports to an individual and to the nation’s economy as a whole.
  • Explain how comparative advantage forms the basis for specialization and trade among nations.
  • Explain how workers can affect their productivity through training and by using tools, machinery and technology.

Understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy:

  • Identify the types of taxes levied by differing levels of governments (e.g., income tax, sales tax, property tax).
  • Explain how laws and government policies (e.g., property rights, contract enforcement, standard weights/measurements) establish rules that help a market economy function effectively.

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