One of the areas most lacking in a child’s education is an understanding of economics. For many young people, their first serious encounter with economics is when they take the introductory course in college. One thing you can do if you are teaching the middle grades is to assign your students essays on economic topics based on lectures you have given.

Profit and Loss

The notion of profit can be a confusing one for children. Have them write an essay related to the price a business changes for an item. Then have them carefully examine the expenses that this business has to pay out from what they charge, such as utilities, supplies, rent taxes, insurance and so on.

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand is a more complex topic. Ask the children to write an essay that looks at the overall concept, explaining how it works. Then have them describe, based on what they have written about supply and demand, what might happen to the car industry should someone invent and market a car that never wears out or needs maintenance.

Opportunity Cost

One of the more difficult concepts for children and even some adults to grasp about economics is opportunity cost. Sent up a scenario in which a person might do one of several things, each of which will have a different result. For example, he might have a sum of money he could invest, buy a car or spend on travel. Have the children write about the ramifications of each decision, and decide which they would choose.

Public Good

Ask your students to write an essay on the concept of a public good. Have them list and describe some of the things generally recognized as public goods, like roads, public TV broadcasts, air and national security. Have them explain why these are considered public goods, while other things like cars or video games are not.

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