Money Makes The World Go Round Essay Format

This is an interesting topic, and you have written clearly in your own voice, for which I commend you.  You asked for criticism and advice, so here are a few things to consider:

Thesis (purpose statement) - Should always be one sentence. I assume it's your second sentence (which I have corrected grammatically). 

To have money, to have lots of it, is not wrong and it never will be; but money is a tool both for good and for bad (evil?).  (Or perhaps positive and negative?)

It does seem as if the next idea, that how we use it is what matters, should also be incorporated into the thesis.

Body points - These should match your thesis statement (think of them as the proof for your key points).  So I'm expecting to hear that having money is better than not having money (which you do address), that money can be used in both positive and negative ways (which I saw a little of in your tags, which I had to condense).  I know you had to condense for this forum, so you may have done these things; however, what I see does not really say enough to make a convincing argument.  Paragraph two is riddled with generalizations, such as the fact that collection calls happen in the middle of the night threatening to sue you (which, though they are intrusive, does not really happen). It also has little in the way of evidence (research, statistics, data, experience, illustrations) to support your claim.  To be effective and convincing, you should rely on information and evidence which will help you present a compelling case.  Anyone famous have money then become poor?  Any good examples of people who have used their money for awful and destructive things (like Lindsay Lohan who is nearly broke, apparently, because of her expensive addictions)?  For doing wonderful and impactful things (like Bill and Melinda Gates who are fighting AIDS in Africa)?  Use these kinds of examples to strengthen your argument that both positive and negative can be accomplished with money.

Conclusion - I love where you're heading with this, and your last quote is powerful.  (In fact, I'd use it as a title and might even open with it--might be even more powerful as an attention-getter than a closing statement.  Either place is fine, though.)  Once again, there is little in this paragraph that packs much of a punch outside of that quote.  Need to summarize/review your key points and work your way to that conclusion.  Your reasoning regarding happiness is sound, but it's a little confusing as stated.  (Read it aloud and I think you'll hear it.) 

I saw a reference to the biblical statement that money is the root (I think you wrote "route") of all evil; but what it says is it's the love of money is the root of all evil.  I might consider that verse for intro or conclusion, as well. 

In short, you have a really good concept and a couple of really sound quotes with which to anchor it.  As a sophomore in college, your professor is no doubt expecting you to use more specifics and more evidence to support your position.  This is a subject which should be easy to corroborate with all kinds of interesting and convincing examples and illustrations.  Best of luck!

Note: This lesson was originally published on an older version of The Learning Network; the link to the related Times article will take you to a page on the old site.

Overview of Lesson Plan: In this two-day lesson plan, students examine what a basic unit of currency means and how it affects world finances. On the first day, students consider the value of the American dollar in light of its devaluation on the global market and gain a deeper understanding of the terms used to describe this economic situation. On the second day, students consider events that may shape the global economy and create board games utilizing their knowledge of foreign currencies and world economics.

Michelle Sale, The New York Times Learning Network
Javaid Khan, The Bank Street College of Education in New York City

Suggested Time Allowance: two 1-hour periods

Students will:
1. Analyze the value of a base unit of currency, such as the American dollar, and compare currency exchange values.
2. Consider the global concerns of the American dollar’s decline by reading and discussing the article “U.S. Faces More Tensions Abroad as Dollar Slides.”
3. Explore definitions for economics terms relating to the global economy and create a class-compiled glossary.
4. Examine the currencies and economies of an assigned country.
5. Participate in a class discussion about how various events may or may not impact a global economy.
6. Create a board game illustrating their understanding of currency valuation and the workings of a global economy.

Resources / Materials:
-student journals
-classroom board
-an American dollar (or an image of an American dollar)
-copies of the article “U.S. Faces More Tensions Abroad as Dollar Slides” found online at // (one per student)
-resources about economic terms (economics textbooks, computers with Internet access)
-large sheets of construction paper or poster board (one per student pair)
-markers (enough for students to share)
-string (to tie compiled glossary book together)
-two large pieces of paper, each with one of the following statements written in large letters: “Greatly Affect,” “No Effect”

Activities / Procedures:
1. WARM-UP/DO NOW: Show the class an American dollar. As a class, briefly discuss the following questions (written on the board prior to class): “What is this? What is it worth? How do you know? What makes it valuable?” With a show of hands, have students give their opinion on the value of the American dollar in each of the following countries: Japan, Argentina, France, and Canada. Then show students a chart (// comparing the American dollar to the currencies of other countries. What makes a country’s unit of currency more valuable in one country than another? How does a country’s economy make a unit of money, such as the American dollar, more or less valuable? What factors in a country contribute to the rise and fall of a base monetary unit?
2. As a class, read and discuss the article “U.S. Faces More Tensions Abroad as Dollar Slides” (//, focusing on the following questions: a. What dominated President Bush’s first term in office?
b. What currency is at the center of a potential economic crisis?
c. What countries are complaining about the weakness of the American dollar?
d. According to Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, what should give foreigners the comfort they seek regarding the American dollar?
e. How large is America’s deficit?
f. What do officials in Asia and Europe say about the Bush administration’s actions regarding currency in the global market?
g. Deficits aside, what does Mr. Snow believe about the state of American economics in the global market?
h. What issues does the article mention as concerns Mr. Bush may favor over deficit reduction?
i. According to C. Fred Bergsten, what could happen if the deficit grows much larger?
j. What are foreign investors continuing to do, despite the weakening of the American dollar?
k. According to Daniel J. Ikenson, how do American growth rates compare with Europe and Japan?
l. According to the article, how is the U.S. Treasury Department viewed today? How was it viewed ten years ago?
m. Why is the United States dependent on China?
n. What organization did China join at the end of the Clinton administration?
o. According to Hideo Kumano, why can’t China replace the United States (or Europe or Japan) as the leading economic power?
p. According to John B. Taylor, why isn’t the Bush administration that worried about global economics?
3. Divide students into pairs. Explain that each group will be designing an oversized page for a class-compiled glossary of economic terms that help to define the value of currency, such as the American dollar. Assign each group a word or phrase, such as recession and economic growth, treasury, economy and global economy, dollar, currency, and currency exchange, currency floating and currency linking, deficit and deficit reduction, surplus, gross national product, gross domestic product, import and export, interest rates, trade gap, revenue, inflation, market, hedge fund, growth rate, etc. For each term or group of words, include some or all of the following (written on the board for easier student access):
-basic definition
-relationship to other economic terms
-current information regarding your own country’s economy (for example, if your assigned word is “deficit,” provide information about your country’s current deficit)
-an example illustrating your concept
If time allows, each pair should present their assigned term or group of words to the class and answer any clarifying questions. Before leaving class, assign each student a country with an economy tied to the United States’, such as China, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, Turkey, Canada or Mexico.
4. WRAP-UP/HOMEWORK: Individually, students research general information about economy and currency of the country they were assigned in class. Students should come to the following class prepared with notes including the following information (written on the board or copied into a handout for easier student access):
-name of country
-name of currency
-comparison of currency to American dollar and two other popular currencies, such as the British pound, European Union euro, Japanese yen or Chinese yuan
-list of top exported goods
-list of top imported goods
-list of countries most dependent upon economically and why
-gross national product
-gross domestic product
-current deficit or surplus
-recent national or global events that may have impacted the country’s economy
DAY TWO (To begin after students finish homework from Day One)
NOTE TO TEACHER: Before class, hang the two “statement” posters on opposite sides of the room. Because students will be moving around to stand along a continuum between the two statements with which they most agree for different scenarios related to currency and the global economy, be sure that students have clear paths in the room to reach each extreme along the continuum.
1. WARM-UP/DO-NOW: Explain to students that they will be expressing their views on different scenarios that you will be reading to them regarding events or situations that may or may not affect a global economy. Point out that each side of the room has a sign that states to what degree students agree or disagree with an event or situation. For each of the events and situations below, read the item aloud and allow students to move to the location on the imaginary continuum line between the two extreme statements that best expresses their views on the event or situation. As students take their places, write the item on the board. Then, ask at least one student in each location along the continuum to share his or her choice. Please encourage students to clarify their responses by explaining how they think the scenario would affect the global economy.
-civil war
-international war
-major natural disaster
-minor natural disaster
-$600 billion dollar national debt
-regime change
2. Divide students into groups of four by joining two pairs from yesterday’s class. Explain that each new group will be creating a board game based on the concepts behind a global economy. In addition to the research they conducted on a specific economic term and on a particular country’s currency, encourage students to refer to current events and their other knowledge of economics to value and devalue currency in light of particular events, such as war, natural disasters and changes in political leaders. Students may do further basic research if necessary, and they should consult the class-compiled glossary book as well.
Encourage groups to consider various game formats, such as classic board games (Risk or Life) or interactive strategy games (Sid Meier’s Civilization). For example, a game may assign each player a particular country, and the goal may be to keep that country out of debt and to develop a strong national economy while interacting with the global market.
3. WRAP-UP/HOMEWORK: Groups should complete their games and prepare instruction booklets in preparation for a Global Economy Game Day to be held in a future class.

Further Questions for Discussion:
-How is money valued?
-What value do you place on money? Why?
-Should small change, like the penny, be eliminated? Why or why not?
-Why do other countries care about currencies from other countries?
-Why do nations accrue debt?
-What causes nations to go into debt?
-Should a nation in debt be allowed to lend money to other countries? Why or why not?
-How is economics related to global politics?
-How does an American deficit make American goods more competitive in the global market?

Evaluation / Assessment:
Students will be evaluated based on participation in class and group discussions, completion of glossary pages, thorough research of assigned country’s currency and economics, collaboration with other students on board games and the thoughtfulness and accuracy of their board games.

tensions, agenda, allies, confrontation, plunge, friction, reverberate, deficits, sentiments, solace, gradual, contend, marshal, robust, surging, entrepreneur, vastly, envy, scapegoat, tensions, stagnation, inflation, grapple, juncture, transformation, hedge, persistent, trajectory, exceeded, unilateralism, magnitude, preventive, insurgency, metaphor, conflagration, accord, akin, mantle, skepticism, ideological, cope, volatility

Extension Activities:
1. Research the value of the American dollar, the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, the British pound, and three more currencies of your choice. On a chart, record the values for each 25 years ago, 15 years ago, ten years ago and five years ago. In an oral report, present your findings, as well as a brief explanation for how the values of each currency has increased or decreased over time.
2. Compile a timeline of China’s economy over the past 25 years. What were the biggest economic developments and pitfalls? What were the most significant imports and exports?
3. Create a chart comparing the wars the United States had engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. How much was spent on military? How much was spent on rebuilding? Based on your research, do you believe the government has spent enough? Too much? The right amount? Why? How is economic value given to such a war?
4. Design a new paper bill for your country. What images, colors, symbols or words would you use? Create a public service announcement showcasing your design.

Interdisciplinary Connections:
American History – Write an essay outlining the role the United States has played in creating and sustaining a global market. Begin your research with information gathered from the article “U.S. Faces More Tensions Abroad as Dollar Slides.”
Language Arts – Write a position paper supporting or refuting the statement “Washington has retreated from efforts to marshal the biggest economies of the world into a mutual effort at more robust and balanced growth.” In your own words, what does this mean? Has President Bush taken enough action to strengthen the dollar? What does the administration have to gain or lose with a weakening dollar? What role should the United States have in the global economy?
Media Studies
-Create an advertisement encouraging fellow citizens to support your country’s economy. What products or goods should they buy? How can they tell if they are authentic? What brands should they look for? Come up with a catchy slogan or recognizable logo to put on your advertisement.
-Create a television commercial selling the game you created during class.
Teaching with The Times – Read the World Business section for two weeks and then report to the class what countries are making headlines. Specifically, focus on which companies inside of those countries are gaining or losing ground, and other significant economic stories. What will the impact be on the global economy? To order The New York Times for your classroom, click here.
Technology – Convert the game created during class into an online game that can be played with people in different regions or countries. Give a demonstration in class.

Other Information on the Web:
Currency exchange rates from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, as well as charts showing the fluctuation in value as compared to the American dollar, can be found at //

Academic Content Standards:
Grades 6-8
Economics Standard 10- Understands basic concepts about international economics. Benchmarks: Knows that exports are goods and services produced in one nation but sold to buyers in another nation; Knows that imports are goods or services bought from sellers in another nation; Understands that international trade promotes greater specialization, which increases total world output, and increases material standards of living; Understands that extensive international trade requires an organized system for exchanging money between nations; Knows that despite the advantages of international trade, many nations restrict the free flow of goods and services through a variety of devices known as “barriers to trade” for national defense reasons or because some companies and workers are hurt by free trade; Understands that increasing international interdependence causes economic conditions and policies in one nation to affect economic conditions in many other nations
Geography Standard 11- Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface. Benchmarks: Understands the spatial aspects of systems designed to deliver goods and services (e.g., the movement of a product from point of manufacture to point of use; imports, exports, and trading patterns of various countries; interruptions in world trade such as war, crop failures, and labor strikes); Understands issues related to the spatial distribution of economic activities; Understands factors that influence the location of industries in the United States; Understands the primary geographic causes for world trade; Knows primary, secondary, and tertiary activities in a geographic context
World History Standard 44- Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world. Benchmarks: Understands influences on economic development around the world; Understands the emergence of a global culture; Understands the role and difficulties of the present day migrant worker
Grades 9-12
Economics Standard 10- Understands basic concepts about international economics. Benchmarks: Understands that trade between nations would not occur if nations had the same kinds of productive resources and could produce all goods and services at the same real costs; Knows that a nation has an absolute advantage if it can produce more of a product with the same amount of resources than another nation, and it has a comparative advantage when it can produce a product at a lower opportunity cost than another nation; Knows that comparative advantages change over time because of changes in resource prices and events that occur in other nations; Knows that a nation pays for its imports with its exports; Understands that public policies affecting foreign trade impose costs and benefits on different groups of people
Geography Standard 11- Understands the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface. Benchmarks: Knows the spatial distribution of major economic systems and their relative merits in terms of productivity and the social welfare of workers; Understands the historical movement patterns of people and goods and their relationships to economic activity; Understands the relationships between various settlement patterns, their associated economic activities, and the relative land values; Understands the advantages and disadvantages of international economic patterns
World History Standard 44- Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world. Benchmarks: Understands rates of economic development and the emergence of different economic systems around the globe; Understands major reasons for the great disparities between industrialized and developing nations; Understands how global political change has altered the world economy

This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed above. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education; 3rd and 4th Editions and have been provided courtesy of the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning in Aurora, Colorado.

Teaching ideas based on New York Times content.

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