When Henry Ford announced he was going to produce an automobile that would be affordable to the masses, it is doubtful even he realized the far reaching impact such an achievement would have on life in the U.S. and eventually, the world. Ford’s use of mass production strategies to manufacture the Model T revolutionized industrial manufacturing and initiated a new era in personal transportation. This 3-part learning unit provides students with the story of Henry Ford and the Model T from an economics perspective. Parts 1 and 2 explore how the Ford Motor Company successfully introduced mass production strategies to the auto industry. Students learn how specialization and investments in capital (machines, people, etc.) increased productivity and allowed Ford to slash the price of his popular vehicle. Students chart a plan for the assembly line production of bookmarks, test their plan and make recommendations for improvements. Students also explore how Henry Ford used economic incentives to address a problem created by mass production techniques—worker turnover. An optional Part 3 explains how increased productivity resulted in shifts in the supply and demand for the Model T. Students analyze how a variety of non price determinants continue to influence the automobile market today. A wealth of extension activities is provided if additional time is available.
After a review of elementary economic concepts, students will apply their understanding by playing an online computer game, Lemonade Stand. This game has the students competing against themselves and others to earn the biggest profit in 25 days time (approximately 15 minutes computer time). "Daily" economic advice helps students find out where they fail in understanding the demand and supply sides of economics. Fun!
The lesson will help students to discover the importance of the Crusades to the expansion of many European countries. Students will also be introduced to new products and find out why explorers were willing to risk all to locate new routes in order to reach these products quickly and cheaply.
The following lessons come from the Council for Economic Education's library of publications. Clicking the publication title or image will take you to the Council for Economic Education Store for more detailed information.
This publication helps elementary students analyze energy and environment issues from an economics perspective.
2 out of 10 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.