6-8 > Economics
 Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Economics Duration: One class period
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Students will understand the following:
 1 Monetary exchange rates change constantly. 2 Students can convert money in any currency into its equivalent in U.S. dollars by using readily available exchange rates, published in newspapers and available online.

For this lesson, you will need:
 • Computer with Internet access

 1 This computer activity—comparing local bus fares in cities around the world—is designed to make students comfortable with foreign currencies and aware of how much information the Internet provides for tourists to other parts of the world before they even leave home. 2 Send students to the Travel Center page at CNN’s financial Web site to find information on cities worldwide. The URL ishttp://cnnfn.cnn.com/services/travelcenter/cityguide.htmll. 3 Tell each student to select three cities outside the United States. The site allows users to select individual cities within three groupings: Americas, Europe, and Asia/Africa. 4 When the student’s first city appears on screen, he or she should click the “Transportation” option and then narrow down the information further by clicking on “Getting around.” Within this text, the student should look for the price of the basic fare for a bus ride in town. The student may find a range of fares for in-town trips, in which case he or she should note the most expensive. The student must notethe amount of local currencythat the bus ride costs—e.g., not simply “120” but “120dr” (for “120 drachmas”) for Athens; not simply “1,500” but “1,500lire” for Florence. If the student’s target city does not have local bus service, the student should pick another city. 5 After the student has found bus fares for three cities, he or she should go to the following cnnfn.com page:cnnfn. There the student should scroll down to the Currency Converter and follow the instructions to find out how much the three bus rides would cost in U.S. dollars. Specifically, the student can request a conversion of 120 Greek drachmas to U.S. dollars; of 1,500 lire to U.S. dollars; and so on. To use the Currency Converter, the student does need to know which country each of the chosen destination cities is in. 6 Ask students to hand in all the data they have found and their conclusions as to which of the three cities charges the most for a local bus ride.

 Encourage students to pick six cities, three of which should be members of the European Union. Students should use the CNN Currency Converter to convert the price of the bus fares in cities in the European Union countries not only to U.S. dollars but also to euros. You can further adapt this activity by asking students to estimate more than bus fares; using information from other parts of the CNN site or other sites, students should estimate the cost of a one-week stay in one of the cities he or she has selected.

 You may evaluate your students’ work using the following three-point rubric: Three points:student has followed each step of the assignment; student arrives at the correct conclusion regarding the most expensive bus fare Two points:student follows most steps of the assignment; student does not arrive at the correct conclusion regarding the most expensive bus fare One point:student makes an effort but does not follow the assignment; student does not arrive at the correct conclusion regarding the most expensive bus fare

 Conversion Fees Tell students to find out how much they would have to pay to convert their U.S. dollars to another currency. What do banks charge for the service they provide? What do currency-exchange companies charge? Why do they charge these fees? Currency Debate Should all countries use the same currency? Ask students to list reasons in favor of and reasons against one universal currency.

 Money Joe Cribb, Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. Get Real James Tenuto and Susan Schwartzwald, Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1992. The Basics of Foreign Trade and Exchange The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Public Information Department, 1993. "The Stock Market Game" The Joint Council on Economic Education, Economics America New York, NY 10036 1-212-730-7007