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Catalog Choice - Ecology Center

Grades
6 to 12
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This is an environmental site and should NOT be confused with catalogchoice.COM, a consumer site FULL of advertising. Catalog Choice(.org) provides free membership to "opt out" of catalogs....more
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This is an environmental site and should NOT be confused with catalogchoice.COM, a consumer site FULL of advertising. Catalog Choice(.org) provides free membership to "opt out" of catalogs. Their self-described mission is "a free service that allows you to decide what gets in your mailbox. Use it to reduce your mailbox clutter, while helping save natural resources." If you teach consumer skills, basic economics, or environmental issues, this site is a real world place to visit with your students as part of your class discussions on marketing, advertising, and environmental issues caused by junk mail.

tag(s): advertising (33), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317)

In the Classroom

If you teach about advertising techniques or information literacy, project both the .org and the .com sites on a screen or whiteboard so students can use a critical eye to see what the .com site is trying to do! Invite your science class to share the .ORG site at home and start an "uncatalog" drive to save some trees. Keep a running total of the number of catalogs your class has stopped and have students research the number of trees you have saved. As part of Earth Day or with your environmental club, share this resource with the entire school community. Encourage students to create tree-safe electronic "ads" for catalog choice (.ORG) that you can share on your class web page. Note: the site requires a free membership, so students should join together with a parent, especially since most catalogs are probably addressed to the adults in the house. Do not permit sharing of personal information (name and address) by students on the site!

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Opensecrets.org - Open Secrets

Grades
9 to 12
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A compilation of data about fund-raising and the financing of political candidates in the United States, this site contains a massive amount of information. You can drill down to the...more
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A compilation of data about fund-raising and the financing of political candidates in the United States, this site contains a massive amount of information. You can drill down to the zip code level and find out who in your local area is donating how much to which political candidates and parties. You can search by politician or by candidates and see where their financial support comes from. You can track particular issues or take a historical look at campaign and political finance.

tag(s): elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Put this site on your TeachersFirst favorites list or teacher web page so students can use it for research on political candidates and issues. Civics teachers will find it useful in demonstrating the importance of lobbying and campaign finance in the political arena. Economics teachers can use these data to illustrate the connection between wealth and political power. Teachers doing lessons focused on the upcoming elections can track current Presidential candidates and their major contributors.
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Gapminder - Gapminder

Grades
7 to 12
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to ...more
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to each country's population, users can track 30 years of change in a wide variety of economic and social indicators (for example, population size, percentage of GNP dedicated to military spending, proportion of girls in school, infant mortality). Math teachers can use the site to demonstrate data analysis skills with meaningful data. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): data (148), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

The site would be best used on an interactive whiteboard, although computer-savvy students could access it individually. The world data presented might supplement lessons in economics, civics, world cultures, current events or modern history. Teachers should plan to spend a chunk of time previewing the site before using, however, as the interface is not entirely intuitive. There is a tutorial, but it will take some experimentation to discover the various ways to manipulate the data and present it graphically. There is also this page of ideas specifically for teachers. You can compare individual countries, or zoom into geographic regions. "Mature" teachers who learned bar graphs and pie charts may find the choices a little overwhelming, but with a little noodling around, will be able to graphically illustrate concepts in ways never before possible.br br Challenge your students to retrieve and use some of the data in support of an essay thesis, oral presentation, or debate.
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Social Studies for Kids

Grades
1 to 8
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government,...more
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government, U.S. presidents, timelines, and many other social studies topics. The highlight of this website is the Current Events segment. This is an easy way to incorporate age-appropriate current events in your classroom.
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!

tag(s): holidays (147), maps (287), presidents (131), renaissance (34), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Use the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.

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Big Apple History - PBS Kids

Grades
5 to 9
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PBS has created this wonderful website that presents the history of New York City. The history goes back as far as before the 1600s and runs through the 1960s. The ...more
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PBS has created this wonderful website that presents the history of New York City. The history goes back as far as before the 1600s and runs through the 1960s. The main topics of the website include New York Living, Business and Politics, Arts and Entertainment, Building the Big Apple, Early New York, and Coming to America. The topics each include an interactive timeline that can be used to share historical information with students. As you scroll across the timeline small descriptions appear at the bottom. If you click on the text you are directed to a mock news article about the topic. Lesson plans are also accessible by clicking on the "Parents and Teachers" link (find this link at the very bottom of the page). There are well over 30 excellent lesson plans (most include interactive elements). Some examples of the lesson plan topics include "History or Mis-Story", "Engineer a Solution", "United we Stand?", and "Get Rich Quick". There is even a link to learn more about the history of your own city (see the "Parents and Teachers" link). This website requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): great depression (24), harlem (9), jazz (15), new york (26), stock market (13), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Get your interactive whiteboards ready for this timeline adventure! Don't forget to utilize the FREE lesson plans. What an excellent way to teach the history of New York City, the stock market, and economics all in one lesson (see "Get Rich Quick")! If you teach about local history, inspire your students by sharing this site first, then have them create a wiki about your town!
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World News - WN Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An ...more
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An excellent plus here is the ability to choose to read the news in a variety of languages. World Photos today, multimedia, global weather, and sports are just a few of the many attractive sections that add to this site's appeal.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.

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NationMaster - Luke Metcalfe

Grades
6 to 12
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Created in response to the CIA Factbook and other data sources, NationMaster draws together data from multiple sources so students (and adults) can compare and contrast using the tools...more
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Created in response to the CIA Factbook and other data sources, NationMaster draws together data from multiple sources so students (and adults) can compare and contrast using the tools of the web site itself. Use pulldowns to select a statistic to compare, such as Education, and the specific statistic you wish to look at (Average years of schooling of adults, for example). You will see the actual data as well as a bar graph or switch to a colored world map representing the data. The site makes working with data more student-friendly. You will have to ignore some of the ads along the top and left side of the page.

tag(s): data (148), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Provide this resource as a link on your teacher web page or in class for supporting data to be used in discussions or debates. In math classes, use the data to create and compare alternate graphical representations of real-world data. In geography classes, use the site tools to see correlations provided for many types of data. World language classes can study and compare the various nations that speak the language they are studying. If you are lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard, highlight data and create graphs for comparisons on the board using the board tools and spreadsheet software, as well.

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CIA World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency

Grades
6 to 12
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Get the facts fast. Use a simple pull-down to find a country of the world and learn all about its significant data. The information is separated into categories:Introduction, Geography,...more
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Get the facts fast. Use a simple pull-down to find a country of the world and learn all about its significant data. The information is separated into categories:Introduction, Geography, People, Government, Economy, Communications, Transportation, Military, and Transnational Issues. All the information is presented in a dry, factual format (mostly numbers) but provides an excellent way to compare countries, draw inferences, and predict trends, hypothesize cause/effect, and more. By researching the data, your class can look for possible connections between demographics and economics, for example.

tag(s): data (148), demographics (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

Provide this resource as a link on your teacher web page or in class for supporting data to be used in discussions or debates. In math classes, use the data to create and compare graphical representations of real-world data. In geography classes, use the information to draw connections between physical features of a nation and its economy. World language classes can compare the various nations that speak the language they are studying.

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Ask the White House - White House and government officials

Grades
8 to 12
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Got a question regarding the economy? Energy efficiency? The military? Trade revenue? Anything? This site, launched in 2003, allows anyone to post a question and ...more
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Got a question regarding the economy? Energy efficiency? The military? Trade revenue? Anything? This site, launched in 2003, allows anyone to post a question and government officials thoroughly and expertly responds. Also, archives of chat discussions can be found through this address. What other place can the average American citizen discuss politics or economics or education or any number of topics with high-ranking officials?

tag(s): news (261), white house (14)

In the Classroom

Civics teachers may want to post key questions from the class and ask students to predict what the response might be. Teachers may ask students to research any of many subjects introduced through the "Ask the White House" questions. Students doing research on civics or economic topics will appreciate the authentic expertise offered by the officials at this site. Of course, some discussion of "netiquette" on phrasing questions would be a good idea! A great follow-up would be a letter-writing activity to government officials, especially to prompt juniors and seniors to become active citizens.

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Acceptance Speech by Doris Voitier - Doris Voitier/ John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Doris Voitier, Superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish Schools in New Orleans area gave this speech in acceptance of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's Profiles in Courage Award...more
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Doris Voitier, Superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish Schools in New Orleans area gave this speech in acceptance of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's Profiles in Courage Award in 2007. Her account of the challenges during and after Hurricane Katrina and the response by the staff of the St. Bernard Parish schools is awe-inspiring and heartening to educators. Her oral history also provides a powerful view of FEMA and the U.S. government from the eyes of hurricane survivors and local public officials.

TeachersFirst is fortunate to have Doris Voitier as a member of the board of directors of our parent company and is proud to congratulate her on this prestigious award.

tag(s): hurricanes (35)

In the Classroom

Educators anywhere will respond to this account on a very personal level. In the classroom, however, this account can also spark discussion about the role of the government in natural disasters, the structure and functions of local government agencies, such as the schools, and the very nature of local economies. Share this real-life story as the beginning of a class discussion on history, government, or economics at the local, state, and federal level.

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NOVA--World in the Balance - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a companion site to a PBS series on the forces world wide that are affecting global population. There is a wealth of information here on historical trends ...more
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This is a companion site to a PBS series on the forces world wide that are affecting global population. There is a wealth of information here on historical trends in population growth, the impact of population on the environment, and the continuing imbalance between the rich and the poor in the world. There are flash-enabled slide shows illustrating global population growth over history, and the impact of that growth on the environment. Don't miss the population counter that starts when you load the home page. It shows how many babies are born in the world since the page first loaded, and the impact is startling! A teacher's guide gives further information about using the resources in the classroom.

tag(s): demographics (19), environment (317), population (60)

In the Classroom

Several excellent interactives might make a strong visual impact if used on an interactive whiteboard. There is an interactive quiz that might be a good discussion starter, and matching "game" that shows demographic trends in four contrasting countries: the US, Japan, Kenya and India. These interactives give impact to discussions of the global economy, world wide environmental changes and the balance of power between "developing" and "developed" countries. Put the population counter up on a projector as student enter the room to activate prior knowledge or provide an anticipatory set.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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China Blue - PBS--Independent Lens

Grades
9 to 12
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A companion to an independent film focusing on the conditions facing workers who make blue jeans for the Western market, this site provides information about "sweatshops" in China and...more
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A companion to an independent film focusing on the conditions facing workers who make blue jeans for the Western market, this site provides information about "sweatshops" in China and other developing countries. There is specific information about the sources for several well-known jeans manufacturers, and stories of the young workers in these factories and their brutal working conditions.

The site would be useful in an economics class during a discussion of the emerging global economy. In addition, it would be a good supplement to a discussion of China in general, or as part of a comparison with 19th century sweatshop labor in the United States and the development of the labor union movement. There are also links to other web-based sources on human rights, China, and the global economy.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Share the film clips on a projector or whiteboard (in either RealPlayer or Quicktime formats). Discussion could work well in either a whole-class format or in a follow-up small group activity where each group creates a Venn diagram comparing the sweat shops of today with those in Weestern countries in the 19th century.

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American Experience The Gold Rush - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling...more
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling California and pursing gold, lesson plans focused on history, economics, geography and civics. There is a nice Flash-powered simulation game in which students can choose a character to navigate the rigors of the Gold Rush. Characters include a Chinese immigrant and a woman.

tag(s): california (27), civil war (145), gold rush (19), immigration (58), lincoln (86), migration (59)

In the Classroom

The Gold Rush era in American history usually gets folded into a discussion of immigration or western expansion. The timeline helps put the discussion into a broader context that includes the Civil War. The simulation game would be a good extension activity for students who master material more quickly, or for students to do at home.
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Stockwatch-Catch, Cash and Community - Defra

Grades
9 to 12
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This is an online simulation game focuses on sustainable fishing (NOT the Stock Market as the title might lead one to believe!). Students can manipulate variables (numbers of fishing...more
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This is an online simulation game focuses on sustainable fishing (NOT the Stock Market as the title might lead one to believe!). Students can manipulate variables (numbers of fishing boats, catch quotas) and see how those changes affect both the bottom line and the environment. Each change results in a year's worth of data (up to 15 year's worth), and then reactions from different stakeholders. The game can be played at a basic level and at an advanced level.

tag(s): environment (317), fish (24), resources (112)

In the Classroom

The game could be helpful in showing students that "success" in a business that affects the environment can be measured in a number of ways: cash flow, environmental impact, community support. The game could be played cooperatively by groups of students on an interactive whiteboard, or could be played individually by students. Since it's available on-line, students could be instructed to play the game at home or during study halls and then be prepared to share their individual data in group discussion. Requires FLASH!
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Death and Taxes: A Visual Guide to Where Your Federal Tax Dollars Go - Jesse Bachman

Grades
8 to 12
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See a graphical representation of the United States Federal Budget, clickable down to the little details. Although you can order this graphic organizer as a poster, the online version...more
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See a graphical representation of the United States Federal Budget, clickable down to the little details. Although you can order this graphic organizer as a poster, the online version allows you and your class to click and burrow down through the bureaucracy to see where the taxes go. Important note: Patience is worth it in waiting for this site to open (don't even bother on a dial-up). Requires the most current version of FLASH.Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

High demand can make this site slow to open fully. Be patient.

In the Classroom

Definitely place this link on your teacher web site for students to view with their parents at home. In class, consider assigning students to use the site to collect evidence for a debate on the size of government or simply open it and navigate as a class on an interactive whiteboard as you discuss the branches of government. You will be amazed what you find using this medium so "native" to your students.

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My Wonderful World - National Geographic and partners

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6 to 12
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After miserable results on a world geography test, National Geographic launched this site as part of a campaign to re-ignite interest and provide resources for students, teachers, and...more
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After miserable results on a world geography test, National Geographic launched this site as part of a campaign to re-ignite interest and provide resources for students, teachers, and parents to learn more about geography. The site is designed blog-style, with many places to comment or join into discussion. There are separate sections for educators (start a geography club, evaluate your school's program, etc.), parents, and kids. Be sure to try the Test Your Global IQ link. There are also many links for further materials and ideas to bolster your instruction in geography.

In the Classroom

Try putting the Global IQ Test up on a projector to "pretest" your class or include it on your teacher web page for extra challenge.

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Be A Historian - Industrialization - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Grades
5 to 10
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. ...more
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. The students are taken back to the late 1800s by authentic pictures and creative learning activities. Topics include working women, railroads and other forms of transportation and mass production.

tag(s): industrialization (15)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive graphic organizers for students to complete individual or guided learning experiences. These would also work well on an interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Quintessential Careers - Quintessential Careers

Grades
7 to 12
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A thorough site on planning for a career. Includes timelines, options, many links to different career paths and college planning resources, even a cover letter generator. the site does...more
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A thorough site on planning for a career. Includes timelines, options, many links to different career paths and college planning resources, even a cover letter generator. the site does have some advertising, but it is tolerable (turn on your pop-up blocker). Special Education teachers working with students on transition planning will also find this site helpful in providing a structured approach.

tag(s): careers (132), college (43), financial aid (12)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in the Favorites on a classroom computer or make it available for students to use independently after you share it for basic navigation tips. You may even want to assign certain tasks on the site as part of your careers unit.

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World Mapper - University of Sheffield

Grades
6 to 12
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What would a world map look like if countries and continents were sized not by land area, but by population, number of elderly, various type of imports, or emigration? ...more
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What would a world map look like if countries and continents were sized not by land area, but by population, number of elderly, various type of imports, or emigration? This site presents dozens of cartograms - or density-equalizing maps - in which each country is resized according to a specific variable. Each map is accompanied by a downloadable Excel file and a printable poster.

tag(s): immigration (58), maps (287), migration (59), population (60)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector. The population maps would be extremely useful for any class discussion on the world use of resources, and the financial disparities that exist among nations. Use the animations provided on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students the demographic differences between nations. World Mapper is an wonderful addition to any geography,civics or social studies class, particularly during units on the UN, natural resources, world conflict, and economic disparity.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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New Sense, Inc. vs. Fish Till U Drop - EconEdLink

Grades
9 to 12
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Here's an economics lesson for high school students that explores the rights of individuals versus the obligations of government to preserve and protect natural resources. The site...more
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Here's an economics lesson for high school students that explores the rights of individuals versus the obligations of government to preserve and protect natural resources. The site presents opposing economic theories and asks students to evaluate the merits of each as they apply to a hypothetical example. While written as an economics lesson, this example could also work as part of a government class. Aligned to national standards.

tag(s): natural resources (59), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan about the economics of natural resources. Be sure to save the site as a favorite on your classroom computer to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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