High School US Government & Economics w/Simulations!



Teacher:  Donna Connolly

Ages:  14+

Class Fees: $330 per quarter or $315 per quarter if taking 2 or more classes.

Mat Fees:  $35

Homework:   YES.  Please plan to spend a minimum of 1.5 hours / week on homework.  This is a high school level class.


Many of us think of government and economics classes with dread - but it shouldn't be like that!   These should be your BEST classes because they directly affect every day of your life!   The way our country is run and how we make decisions, and how YOU can impact that is a pivotal lesson in life.  It's a microcosm of our lives.   We are lucky enough to live in a country where we can voice our opinions, where we can research and find answers, where we can use our votes, our voices, our writing to make differences.   We should all know how to do this!   Our economy is one of the best in the world!   We all benefit from this, but it is worthwhile to learn how it works, and how our lives work within our greater economy.   We will be reading excerpts from Thomas Pikkety's seminal work Capital in the 21st Century, articles from "The Economist", local news sources and more!


US Government:   15 weeks

How do things get done in our country?   How are laws passed, elections held, taxes and other decisions made?  How can YOU affect your community?   In this class, we will look at the basic concepts of American government, the American political process and the rights and the intended responsibilities of citizenship.  We'll also look at whether citizenship is happening or not, and survey why we think this might be?   What is voter apathy and why is it happening?  The course is designed to address the state standards in social studies in the area of government,  and will help prepare students for a college level government course.  But much more importantly, it helps us all look at the idea of democracy, how it was designed to happen in our country, and how we can all participate fully as informed citizens who are prepared to experience the challenges and joys that come from being an actively involved citizen. The following are topics that will be addressed in this course:

  • Roots of democracy

  • Principles of U.S. government

  • Role and structure of government

  • Three Branches of Government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial

  • Forms of government

  • Political Parties

  • Local and state government structure and processes

  • Sovereign status of American Indian nations

  • Provisions of the U.S. Constitution, Amendments and Bill of Rights

  • Definition, rights and responsibilities of citizenship

  • Voting and Elections

  • Historic and current public policy issues

  • U.S. in world affairs



Economics & Simulations:   15 weeks

What happens when you combine simulations, role-playing activities and mystery-based lesson plans with economics? The answer is simple: your students actually learn the concepts of economics and have fun while they are doing it!   Economics is part of everyone's life.   It is part of our political process, how we live, how we find jobs, globalization and just about everything else.  No matter what you decide to study, economics will factor in your life.   In this class, we'll cover all of the topics generally taught in a high school level econ class, but much of our learning will be through simulations.  We'll learn the vocabulary of econ, the graphing and interpretation of graphs, understanding of trade laws and more!  


The class will cover:

Economic Decision Making and Reasoning- Strengthen your decision-making skills and economic reasoning with a mystery-based lesson plan and a handy decision making model.

Trade and Comparative Advantage - By setting up simple and quick trade simulations, we will learn about the benefits of free trade and the definition of comparative advantage.   Side projects will be used to explore how free free-trade is...

Money, Exchange Rates and Fiscal Policy - What makes money so special? We will use an auction-style activity and a two part play to illustrate the power of money; its role in the international market place; and expansionary and contractionary fiscal policy.

Productivity and Entrepreneurship - We'll explore the effects of specialization on labor productivity, the division of labor, and investment in human capital and capital goods with an in class business. And, step into the world of an entrepreneur with production and innovation activities.

Government - What function should the government have in the market economy? Discover & define your opinion of when the governments' participation in the economy is helpful and when it is harmful.  Students will have an opportunity to extend this lesson into personal research projects that explore when they feel government intervention is good, and when it is not.   They will be able to look at both modern and historical economic policies, from the 1930s to present times to research a particular policy decision and explore both perspectives of the costs and benefits of government programs.

Market Economy - We will use role-playing activities to determine how we would behave as buyers and sellers in a competitive market.


We will master concepts like trade, money, opportunity cost, scarcity and inflation quickly and all while having fun.

Many professional athletes don't even have their college degrees, so what makes them different and their jobs so lucrative?

The answer is: economics.

The demand for watching these hot young professionals are tremendously high and the supply of these talented athletes is very low, so that is why they earn the big bucks.

A combination of a basic foundation of economic principles and an economic mindset makes understanding even seemingly non-nonsensical inequities such as why professional athletes make more than teachers, firefighters and police officers easier to understand.  Then we can debate what should be done about this inequity!

Economics affects the lives of every person on earth, this course will give a basic grounding in why this is, and how it works.