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Economic Analysis of Asia in Middle Schools

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A middle grades social studies course with content on Asia typically includes the following economic competencies:

  • Identify resources found in Asia and explain the relationship between the location of resources and economic activities.
  • Analyze the effect of the unequal distribution of resources; explain how people have modified and adapted to their physical environment.
  • Analyze causes and consequences of misuse of the physical environment and propose alternatives.
  • Describe the characteristics of economic systems and how they have changed over time.
  • Define and identify developing and developed regions.
  • Compare the physical and cultural characteristics of regions.
  • Define the effects of interdependence on economies.
  • Assess the causes and effects of increasing international interdependence.
  • Analyze the impact of absolute and relative location of places.
  • Evaluate the influence of beliefs, religious practices, and individuals associated with the major religions.

Embedded in these competencies are the following economic concepts as listed in Table 1.

Teaching these competencies/concepts to a sixth or seventh grader is a daunting task. These concepts should be taught thematically, and not in isolation. Any society’s cultural setting reflects the interaction of its values, institutions, traditions, customs, religions and economic forces. Asia is a mosaic of different cultures, varied religions, different economic structures, and a diverse mixture of different races and ethnic groups. Customs, traditions, and institutions in Asia are very different from those in Western cultures.