Grade: Senior

#904. Leading Economic Indicators

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Fri Jun 18 09:15:01 PDT 1999 by Gary Schnieders (gschnied@forbin.com).
Columbus , Waterloo, IA. USA
Materials Required: Internet
Activity Time: 4 class periods
Concepts Taught: Evaluating Economic Data

Applied Economics
Mr. Gary Schnieders
Leading Economic Indicators


Introduction:
For this unit, students will be using the Internet as their primary source.

Goals:
Students will be able to identify/define/explain what the leading economic indicators are.

Students will collect the data of the leading economic indicators over the last six (6) months and create graphs plotting the data.

Students will analyze/evaluate the data collected in order to predict economic trends for the next six (6) month period.


Part One:
Students will access the following Internet page in order to complete part one above.
www.tcb-indicators.org/
(The Conference Board Business Cycle Indicator page)

Using this web page, students should be able to identify, define, and explain what the leading economic indicators are. For this part of the project students will:
Make a chart in which you list each of the L.E.I.'s. After each L.E.I. you are to write a brief summary which defines what it is and it's importance.

Part Two:
Students will access the following Internet sites in order to complete part two:
www.dismal.com
(The Dismal Scientist)

www.usatoday.com/money/economy/econ0001.htm
(USA Today)

www.firstunion.com/library/econews/indicator.html
(First Union Economic Indicators)

Using these sites students will:
Gather the data for each of the L.E.I.'s for the last six (6) months. This data is to be presented in a chart form, showing the date for each of the six months. Directly below the chart, the student is now to make a graph of the data presented.

Part Three:

Based on the analysis and evaluation of the data collected, student will predict the course of the nation's economy for the next six (6) months. Students will be expect-ed to demonstrate and show what data they used in order to make their prediction.

The students will be required to explain and defend their prediction to an outside consultant.


Applied Economics: Leading Economic Indicator Unit
Lesson Plans

Background:
As an introduction, students will have read over Chapter 8 from their textbook relating to L.E.I.'s. This will serve as their introduction and background knowledge. This will have been assigned to have been read by the next class period.

Day One: (90 min. block period)
Students will be divided into groups of three. (It's important to keep an "odd" number within each group). Students will have the period to accomplish the following:
To gather and collect the data from the given Web sites.
To begin laying and designing their spread sheet into which they will input their data.

Homework: Complete their spread sheet showing the data as well as having the data graphed.


Day Two: (90 min. block period)
The students will have the period to analyze and evaluate the information they have collected. This is to be done as a group. Once they have done this, the group will now be expected to write up it's con-clusions and decisions regarding what their economic forcast for the next six months.


Day Three: (90 min. block period)
Students will present their conclusions and projections to the class. They will be expected to defend their position and conclusions based on the data they have collected.

Day Four: (90 min. block period)
Debriefing of project. Use time as needed.

Student Handout: Leading Economic Indicators Unit

Introduction:
For this unit, students will be using the Internet as their primary source.

Goals:
Students will be able to identify/define/explain what the leading economic indicators are.

Students will collect the data of the leading economic indicators over the last six (6) months and create graphs plotting the data.

Students will analyze/evaluate the data collected in order to predict economic trends for the next six (6) month period.

Assignment: Read Chapter 8 of the textbook. (this will serve as your background)

Day One:

Students will be divided into groups of three.
Each group will be assigned to a computer.

Part 1 of project:
Students will gather and collect the data necessary to allow them to be able to identify, define, and explain what the L.E.I.'s are. In order to do this, students will access the following Internet page (can be found under "Favorites")
www.tcb-indicators.org/
(The Conference Board Business Cycle Indicators)

All students will be responsible for collecting and gathering data for at least 6 L.E.I.'s. Once the data has been collected, the students will now create a spread sheet showing the data. (If none of the students within the group know how to set up a spread sheet, a form will be provided for the group) The spread sheet should consists of three columns; L.E.I., definition of, and explanation of it's significance (relevance to the economy).


Part 2 of the project:
Students will now collect data for each of the L.E.I.'s for the last six months. In order to do this students will access the following Internet sites (can be found in "Favorites")
www.dismal.com
(The Dismal Scientist)
www.usatoday.com/money/economy/econ0001.htm
(USA Today)
www.firstunion.com/library/econews/indicator.html
(First Union Economic Indicators)

Once this data has been collected, the students will create a spread sheet plotting the data for each of the L.E.I.'s. (Again, if no one in the group can create a spread sheet, a from will be available) Along with this, students will plot a graph for each L.E.I. showing the data.


Assingment:
Students are to have completed both parts one and two before the next class period.

Day Two:

Students will have the period in order to analyze and evaluate the data they have collected. Based on their discussions, students will:

Evaluate each of the L.E.I.'s as far as it's importance as a "predicator" for the nation's economy and give it a "weighting". (You will be expected to explain your rational behind the how and why you gave one L.E.I. more weight then another)

Project the nation's economic growth for the next six months. For this, the group must choose between one of the following four projections; Strong growth (4-6%), moderate growth (1-3%) , moderate decline (-1 - -2%), or major decline (drop of 3% or more).

Students are to write out their projections. Most importantly of all however, students are to DEFEND their projections using the data which they have collected. Students are to cite the specific data that supports their projection.

Day Three:

Each group will present and explain their projections. An outside consultant may be coming in for this part of the project. In the presentation, each group will be expected to explain and defend their projection. Each group can, and should, expect questions from the consultant, as well as from the other groups. This will be a critical part of the presentation and each student in the group will need to be ready to answer any and all questions.

Day Four:

Debriefing of project.


Applied Economics: Leading Economic Indicators Unit
Debriefing Session Handout
Assignment

Students are to write down a brief one or two sentence answer for each question listed. These questions will be the focus of our class discussion regarding the L.E.I. project.


1. Were all groups in agreement when it came to which LEI's should have more weight? If not, why not? Also, be able to explain why and how your group came to its decisions regarding how and why one LEI had more weight then the others.

2. Was there one or two LEI's that seemed to be more important to all the groups? If so, which one(s) and why? (Think of your own group and how you made your decisions)

3. Were there any LEI's that seemed to be "less" important to everyone? Which ones and why? (Think of your own group and how you made your decisions)

4. When it came to making predictions, were all the groups in agreement?

5. If not, why not? (This is the KEY question. Give this some time and analyze this. Each group had the same data, yet, in the end, some came to different conclusions. How is this possible? What reasons might there be for this difference?)

6. When it came to the different group's predictions, was there any real "consensus" as to the direction of the nation's economy? If yes, why? If no, why not?

7. Analyze your own group's prediction. Even with the data you had, is it possible that your could be wrong? If yes, explain what might be a cause for this.