Activity Introduction

bbrw-sunset-photoframe-newQuick summary: Students explore the economy and look at the relationship between the economy and nature. They are asked to reflect on the role of nature in the economy as well as how nature can be valued in monetary terms. They are then asked to consider that measuring nature in economic terms doesn’t give a complete picture of how we value nature; for example in personal, spiritual and aesthetic terms. Finally students are asked to extend this idea to include how we use economic performance to measure the success of a country or society, and how this measure may fail to offer a complete picture of that country or society.

This lesson supports students to inquire into the big idea of ‘real wealth’. Students develop an understanding of shared values, and build their sustainable and ethical financial knowledge, equipping them with the skills to make sound financial decisions based on social, environmental and economical merit.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand the basic workings of the economy.
  • Students understand the contribution of nature to the economy, including terms such as ‘Natural capital’ and ‘Tragedy of the commons’.
  • Students recognise that economic measures don’t always tell the complete picture of the success of a society or country and that more alternative measures – such as happiness or health – can also be useful.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.3, OI.8.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 9 Economics and Business

  • Australia as an ‘economy’ and its place within the broader Asia and global economy (ACHEK038)

Year 10 Economics and Business

  • Indicators of economic performance and how Australia’s economy is performing (ACHEK050)

Syllabus OutcomesC5.2, C5.3, C5.4.

Topic: Consumption

Unit of lessons: Real Wealth Year 9 & 10

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – this lesson could be set as homework.

Resources required: Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Student worksheet – one paper copy per student OR access to computer/tablet with internet access, internet access for each student for video viewing, headphones for each student if viewing video in class. Real Wealth Cheat Sheet, Glossary Secondary.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: economy, nature, measure, society.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

bbrw-tree-photoframe-newTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand the basic workings of the economy and the contribution of nature to the economy, including terms such as 'Natural capital' and 'Tragedy of the commons'. Students will also recognise that economic measures don't always tell the complete picture of the success of a society or country and that alternative measures - such as happiness or health - can also be useful.

Teacher content information: It’s a strange thing that we can put a price on just about everything - from our phones and clothes, to our cars and houses, to our time and our economy - and yet we find it very hard to put a price on what the environment means to us.

Our environment provides us with all the goods and services that keep our lives and economies going. Yet very few of us think about the financial value of our environment: the value of the water, air, sunshine, soil, plants and animals that we depend upon to support all human life and economic

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How does economics help or hinder how we understand the world?

Part 1. What is the economy?

Watch the following clip.

Cave-o-nomics, Morgan Spurlock (

Once you have watched this video, complete this table and answer the questions below:

Three things you found interesting in this video:




Two questions you have about what you saw in this video:



In 25 words or less, describe the term 'economy':

Finally, what role do you think nature has in our economy (local or global)?

Part 2. Using the economy to measure the value of nature

Watch this clip and answer the questions below:

A Bee’s Invoice:The Hidden Value in Nature, Adrian Grenier (

In your own words, describe the following terms:

Natural capital

Tragedy of the commons

In 50 words or less, summarise what you saw in this video:

What do yo

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