Economics – A Layered Curriculum Unit

Brian Hamilton

Opportunity School of Cabarrus County

Grading Scale: 78-85 = C; 86-92 = B; 93+ = A


  1. Describe how the three basic economic questions are answered in a traditional, command, and market economy. Explain the roles of self-interest and incentives in a market economy. Describe the types of mixed economies that exist today.
  2. Describe the main features of free enterprise in the United States. Name the two markets of the circular flow model. Explain how the circular flow model reflects exchange.
  3. Describe how nations decide how to use scarce resources. List and define the major goals of the US economy. Explain why economic goals sometimes conflict.

C Layer: earn up to 85 points

  1. Complete all daily work assignments (5 points a day/max 20 points).
  2. Listen to the lecture and take notes each day (5 points a day/20 points maximum).
  3. Bookwork: Read the chapter and outline it using SQ3R (10 points).
  4. Complete the vocabulary worksheet and write a brief, one-act play using these words in the proper context. (5 points each / 10 points maximum)).
  5. Create a game using the ten most important concepts you identify from the chapter. (5 points)
  6. Create a model/chart/diorama of the invisible hand. (10 points)
  7. Create an advertisement for The Wealth of Nations. (5 points)
  8. View the film Monetary Policy and complete the viewing guide (5 points)
  9. Select an occupation. Create a product that shows how the occupation you selected benefits society and the incentives the job provides. (5 points)
  10. Create a diagram or model that shows the flow of goods between government, business, and households. Describe in writing the path that these goods would follow from production until purchase by the consumer. (10 points).
  11. Use magazines, newspapers, and other media to create a collage illustrating the five main features of the free enterprise system in the United States. Write a caption that explains how the collage represents these features (5 points).
  12. Select a card provided by the teacher that will assign you one of the six economic goals. Find any media article that illustrates or represents your assigned goal. Summarize the article in writing and explain how it illustrates your goal (10 points).
  13. Create a chart comparing traditional, command, and market economic systems. Give examples of each economy and support your work (10 points).
  14. Complete the WebQuest associated with your economics unit (5 points).

B Layer: Choose One – 10 points

1.      Choose to be a supporter of either a traditional or command economy. Decide how your school would be run based on the economic system you support. Create a table illustrating how the school will answer the three basic economic questions.

2.      (May be researched as a group, but speeches must be written separately). Imagine that Adam Smith is running for President of the United States, and that you are his speechwriter. Write a speech justifying Smith’s laissez-faire approach to economics. Research Smith’s theories and apply them to current economic trends. Make your speech persuasive, contemporary, and speak to the needs and wants of the American public. (You may present the speech to the teacher or the class).

3.      Group activity: Select a card provided by the teacher that will assign to you one of the five features of free enterprise. Create and perform a skit that showcases the group’s feature. Each member of the group must participate on the skit. Perform the skit for the class or the teacher.

4.      Individual, partner, or group activity: Imagine that you are economic advisers preparing to address a group of newly elected U.S. legislators. As economic advisors, it is your job to explain to all new legislators the importance of each of the six economic goals of the United States, and how and why these goals conflict. Create at least one chart or poster for your presentation.

5.      Create a diorama (or other artistic representation) of the business cycle. Research at least three articles related to the current economic period in the United States (within the last three months). After analyzing your data, identify the phase of the business cycle we are currently experiencing and predict what will happen in the next 6 months. Be sure to analyze the most recent actions of the Federal Reserve, look at the most recent GNP and GDP numbers, analyze import/export data, and include any economic sectors that may influence the cycle (i.e. the current mortgage crisis).


A Layer: Choose one – 10 points


  1. Research the author Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. What economic system does Ayn Rand’s philosophy most resemble? Do you agree with her philosophy? (List and explain at least three reasons).
  2. Research a time in the history of the United States when government regulation of the economy has come into conflict with individual freedom. Present an argument in support of or against the way the problem was rectified (List and explain three reasons).
  3. Does the U.S. free-enterprise system favor consumers or producers? Explain your reasoning.
  4. Choose a period of time in U.S. history and compare and contrast the economic goals and priorities of the period with what you perceive to be the goals of today’s society. What does today’s society need to do to achieve their goals? Are there any lessons to be learned from the past?