April 1

4th Grade Social Studies

Lesson 1:   What is Economics?

  • People use resources to produce goods and services.
  • Scarcity results because resources are limited and human wants are unlimited.
  • Because of scarcity, people make choices about what goods and services to produce, how goods and services will be produced, and who will get the goods and services.
  • In answering the questions about what to produce, how to produce it, and who gets it, people create an economic system.

Lesson 2:   Characteristics of a Market Economy

  • There are different types of economic systems in the world.
  • The answers to economic questions such as what goods and services to produce, how to produce them, and who gets them determine the type of economic system.
  • The economic system in the U.S. is called a market economy.
  • A market economy is based on the interactions of buyers and sellers.
  • Important characteristics of a market economy include private property rights, voluntary exchange, competition, consumer sovereignty, incentives, and specialization.

Lesson 3:   Circular Flow

  • The interactions in a market economy can be described with a circular flow model.
  • Circular flow describes the pattern in which goods and services and resources flow in the marketplace.
  • Circular flow includes a market for resources and a market for goods and services.
  • Individuals sell their labor, human resources, to businesses in exchange for money, or income. This is done in the resource market.
  • Individuals use their income to buy goods and services from businesses. This creates the market for goods and services.

Lesson 4:   Economic Decision Making: The Role of Price and Competition

  • Economic decision making is influenced by the interaction of price, competition, and substitute goods.
  • When prices decrease, demand for that good or service increases.
  • When prices increase, demand for a good or service decreases and consumers may choose substitute goods or services.
  • Competition can lead to a decrease in prices.

Lesson 5:   Role of Incentives

  • Incentives are rewards or penalties used to encourage people to behave in certain ways.
  • Rewards are positive incentives that make people better off.
  • Penalties are negative incentives that make people worse off.
  • Incentives affect people’s choices and behavior in predictable ways.
  • Economic incentives usually involve money.
  • Positive economic incentives include sales, coupons, and discounts.
  • Negative economic incentives include fees and fines

Lesson 6:   Specialization and Division of Labor

  • People usually specialize in a job a skill they are good at or like to do.
  • When people specialize they cannot produce everything they want or need. 
  • Specialization leads to interdependence and trade. Because people cannot produce all the good or services they consume, they need to trade with others to fulfill their needs and wants.  
  • When individuals, regions, or countries specialize, they must trade with others for what they do not produce. 
  • When the production of a good or service is broken down into different steps with different workers performing each step, it is called division of labor. 
  • Specialization and division of labor usually increases the productivity of workers and businesses.

Lesson 7:   How Global Competition Affects the U.S. Economy

  • Businesses compete for consumers with a goal of earning a profit.
  • Businesses produce goods and services based on the human, natural, and capital resources available in their country.
  • Lower costs of human, natural or capital resources (productive resources) result in higher profits for businesses. 

Global competition can affect jobs, prices of goods, and quality of goods in the United States.

Lesson 8:   Effects of Changes in the Economy

  • The labor force in the U.S. is made up of people who are working and those looking for work.
  • Changes in the U.S. economy can affect levels of employment.
  • Economic changes that affect employment can include changing demands for natural resources, changes in technology, and changes in competition.
  • Global competition has affected levels of employment in the U.S. and the types of jobs available.

Lesson 9:   The Role of Government in the U.S. Economy

  • Governments provide certain kinds of goods and services in a market economy. These are called public goods and services.
  • Public goods and services are goods and services that private businesses are either unwilling or unable to produce.
  • Governments pay for the goods and services they provide by collecting taxes.
  • Providing public goods and services helps government carry out its major purposes such as providing safety, providing security, and promoting the common good.