Wachusett Regional School District
Wachusett Mountain

 History and Social Science

Curriculum Frameworks K-12 

Go To:

History and Social Science
Civics and Government


Economics at the elementary and secondary level can be taught developmentally so that students gain an understanding of how economics applies to their own lives and to people’s actions in the past.  Students’ understanding will be enhanced by such concepts as scarcity, human, natural, and capital resources, opportunity costs, positive and negative incentives, and voluntary trade and specialization.

Students study the economic history of many times and places, but it is vitally important to their own lives that they first understand the economic history of Massachusetts, New England, and the United States.  They need to understand the relative concentrations of agriculture, industry, and commerce, and the rise and decline of particular industries, the history of labor, the growth of banking and finance, and the record of economic expansions and recessions.  In addition, they should understand the difference between public and private influences on economic activity, including the role of private investment and the role of the federal, state, and municipal governments in taxation, regulation, and public investments.


Standard:  As a result of activities in grades K-5, students should develop the ability to:

  • Give examples of products that people buy and use.
  • Give examples of services that people do for each other. 
  • Give examples of people in the community and school who are both producers and consumers. 
  • Give examples of buyers and sellers. 
  • Define a tax is and the purposes of taxes. 
  • Give examples of specialized jobs in the community. 
  • Define barter and give examples of it. 
  • Define and give examples of natural resources in the United States. 
  • Give examples of limited and unlimited resources. 
  • Give examples of how the interaction of buyers and sellers influences the prices of goods and services in markets. 
  • Give examples of the ways people save their money. 
  • Define entrepreneur.  Give examples from history. 
  • Define profit and describe how profit is an incentive for entrepreneurs. 
  • Give examples of how changes in supply and demand affect prices.

Standard:  As a result of activities in grades 6-7, students should develop the ability to:

  • Provide examples of currencies from several countries and explain why international trade requires a system for exchanging currency among nations.
  • Give examples of products that are traded among nations, and examples of barriers to trade in these and other products. 
  • Define supply and demand and describe how changes affect prices. 
  • Define key elements of a market economy. 
  • Describe how different economic systems try to answer the basic economic questions of what to produce, how to produce, and for whom to produce. 
  • Compare the standard of living in various countries today using gross domestic product per capita as an indicator. 
  • Define and apply economic concepts learned in pre-kindergarten through grade 6:  producers, consumers, goods, services, etc.

Standard:  As a result of activities in grades 8-12, students should develop the ability to:

  • Explain the rise of the Northern economic system including capital, industry, labor, and trade.
  • Explain the rise and fall of the Southern economic system including land, agriculture, slavery, and trade. 
  • Describe the aims, obstacles, and phases of the post Civil War reconstruction.