Unit Plan:
Everything Is Economics
Mastering Economic Essentials

Economics / Grade 12

Big Ideas

Exploration, expansion, and colonization had varying consequences for different peoples.


  • Exploration
  • Colonization
  • First contact

Essential Questions

Students will keep considering…

  • How do conflicting ideas affect progress?
  • What makes one culture seem more appealing than another? 

Evaluative Criteria

Teacher Evaluative Criteria:
Geography extension/ mapping skills: Students create (3D model, online, or draw) the island, including natural resources found on it, geographic location in relation to other landmarks, location of settlement, etc.



> Students present one part of the project (oral debate OR written report)

> Written report is submitted in alternative form (drawing or mind map)

Develop rubrics to assess this project. Suggested evaluation branches: oral debate, policy proposal, realistic suggestions for compromise between two communities.

Quiz evaluation: can be open book and based on big ideas/ essential questions (synthesis) rather than fact-based recall.

Paragraph writing:
Scaffold assessment with feedback on thesis statements, paragraph outlines, practice arguments.

Possibilities for paragraph expansion:
> Peer review paragraphs
> Create rubric with students; have students self-assess

Possibilities for project expansion:
> Study culture of indigenous groups around the world (e.g. music, food, religious traditions, etc.)
> Have students create map of the world during age of exploration to show specific information. E.g. natural resources, migration patterns, languages, etc.

Project evaluation:
Develop rubric to assess research skills (quality of sources, bibliography), presentation skills, information found (accuracy, relevancy).

Monitoring Progress

Teacher will monitor progress:
Teachers can monitor progress through ongoing formative assessment including but not limited to:

> Note-taking (extracting big idea from text)

> Primary source analysis

> Group discussions

> Optional assignments: journal entries, etc

Potential Student Misunderstandings:






  • Pathways by Michael Cranny
  • Crossroads: A Meeting of Nations by Michael Cranny
  • Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
  • Raven Steals the Light by Bill Reid



How will teachers and their students reflect on and evaluate the completed project?

Constant feedback from students and dialogue after each activity outlined in the Learning Events will help to direct and adapt what is explored in the next activity. Self, peer and teacher evaluation of the Performance Task and its alignment with the essential questions.

Next time I teach this unit I would…

Allow students to select the short stories that link to Identity.

My students needed:


Potential Student Misunderstanding:

Stage 2 – Evidence

Authentic Performance Tasks


AUTHENTIC PERFORMANCE TASK: Assessing for Understanding
Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding by:

PERFORMANCE TASKS RATIONALE:  All of the following activities require students to be actively engaged in the learning task.  Students will assume roles, argue opinions, share anecdotes, challenge classmates, debate issues, consume products, analyze human behavior, create authentic metrics, and make recommendations.  For some students these activities will come easily.  For others, teacher encouragement will be needed.  Teachers will pay close attention to creating a safe atmosphere in the class for students to express personal opinions.   They will also encourage all students to take risks with their learning when debating, role playing, or playing simulation games using curriculum material that is new to them.

> Click here to learn more about Performance Tasks

GRASPS - Lesson 1 - “There’s Not Enough To Go Around”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #1: “There’s Not Enough To Go Around”

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  How does scarcity and choice govern our economic decisions and the world around us?

> Click here to Download GRASPS

GRASPS - Lesson 2 - “It's Hard to See the Other Side”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #2: “It’s Hard to See the Other Side”

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  How does scarcity and choice govern our economic decisions and the world around us?

> Click here to download GRASPS

GRASPS - Lesson 3 - “Is Free Trade Free?”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #3: “Is Free Trade Free?” [* See Fraser Institute citation in Resources]

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  How do we determine what is valuable to us as individuals and a society?  What is the value of money beyond its monetary worth?  What economic opportunities and problems arise from changes in technology?

> Cick here to download GRASPS

GRASPS - Lesson 4 - “If Only My Parents Had Told Me About the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #4: “If Only My Parents Had Told Me About the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility”

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  What does it mean to be an educated consumer?

> Cick here to download GRASPS

GRASPS - Lesson 5 - “Stanley Park Is For Sale”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #5: “Stanley Park Is for Sale”

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  Why do some societies choose one economic system over another for the economic well-being of their society?

> Cick here to download GRASPS

GRASPS - Lesson 6 - “Order in the Court”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #6: “Order in the Court”

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  How are our common everyday decisions closely interconnected with how society, the environment and the economy functions?  What does it mean to be an educated consumer?

> Cick here to download GRASPS

GRASPS - Lesson 7 - “Living in the Truman Show”

What is a GRASPS task? 

LESSON #7: “Living in the Truman Show”

ESSENTIAL QUESTION:  Why do some societies choose one economic system over another for the economic well-being of their society?  How does scarcity and choice govern our economic decisions and the world around us?

> Cick here to download GRASPS

Other Evidence
  • OTHER EVIDENCE: Assessing for Knowledge and Skills
    Students will show they have acquired Stage 1 knowledge and skills by:

“There’s Not Enough to Go Around”

  • Students will outline a plan to make a forthcoming personal purchase within 12 months, allowing for timing, demand, and supply factors.  Evidence of decision-making process required.

“It’s Hard to See the Other Side”

  • Students will discuss why northern countries frequently tend to get ‘the best deal’ in trade negotiations.
  • Using their imagination, students will describe how a global economy based on the chief economic goal of happiness (Bhutan) differs from our current market-driven economy and will explain how trade negotiations might be rather different in this new scenario

“Is Free Trade Free?”

  • Discuss the wider implications of current trade events such as Brexit,  TPP, NAFTA, or US / European protectionism.

If Only My Parents Had Told Me About the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility”

  • Discuss aspects of human psychology and explore why societies routinely hyper-consume, unlike other animals in nature.

“Stanley Park Is for Sale”

Extension possibilities:

  • Examine the 7 Teachings that many Aboriginal communities embrace today.   Include in the debate a third team who argues that Stanley Park must be returned to sole governance by its first inhabitants, the First Peoples.
  • Discuss the concept that ‘economics is often politics’ and explore situations where public / private resource issues are often split down political lines.  Hold a small-town municipal election where the sole issue is resource-based.
  • Explore the advantages and disadvantages of extreme cases of public / private economies such as Northern Korea / Switzerland.

“Order in the Court”

  • There are many notable global business cases where corporate externalities have had far-reaching consequences.  Students can extend this trial’s learning task to individual project research with each student  (or pair of students) examining a separate, well-known multi-national corporation and its CSR record.

“Living in the Truman Show”

  • In their create-an-economy group, students will locate and reproduce articles from a local and national news source that deals with immediate economic factors.
  • They will visually display these articles in a graphic presentation and under each news item, will compose a one-paragraph analytical response to why the factor is ‘working’ or ‘not working’ for our present-day economy.

Further Extension Possiblities

1. Assume the active role of a community member in the cornerstone task of taking part in a multi-month classroom economy simulation.  See The Classroom Economy under Resources for a useful link.

2. Self-assess a timely personal economic decision for Opportunity Costs, giving weight to present and future ramifications.

3. Write reflectively or present to classroom peers an informed personal economic decision / behavior (see #2 above)  based on authentic research using online financial calculators (post-secondary funding, travel plans, car purchase, etc.)

4. Interview a local Corporate Knight and present an evaluative summary of its business practices using a Corporate Social Responsibility filter.

5. Critically analyze an economics-based current event and make reasonable and supported economic predictions based on knowledge and trends studied in class. [Teacher Note:  This is an effective way to begin every class as the daily news provides much material for opening discussion. Recent examples include nations receding from economic partnerships, trade discussions and the tensions they bring, alliances between provinces and in-country economic squabbles, etc.)]

6. Use collaborative inquiry to invent or improve a process to solve a current economic problem in the news (see #5 above).

7. Evaluate an unfamiliar economic system from multiple viewpoints, being aware of personal cultural bias.

The following resources are made available through the British Columbia Ministry of Education. For more information, please visit BC’s New Curriculum.


Big Ideas

The Big Ideas consist of generalizations and principles and the key concepts important in an area of learning. The Big Ideas represent what students will understand at the completion of the curriculum for their grade. They are intended to endure beyond a single grade and contribute to future understanding.

Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Core Competencies

orangecommunicationCommunications Competency

The set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media

bluethinkingThinking Competency

The knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development

greensocialSocial Competency

The set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society

Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Curricular Competencies & Content

Curricular Competencies are the skills, strategies, and processes that students develop over time. They reflect the “Do” in the Know-Do-Understand model of curriculum. The Curricular Competencies are built on the thinking, communicating, and personal and social competencies relevant to disciplines that make up an area of learning.

Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Additional Resources

First People's Principles of Learning

To read more about First People’s Principles of Learning, please click here.

For classroom resources, please visit the First Nations Education Steering Committee.