Most of us associate wealth with money but real wealth can only be achieved through the production and distribution of goods and services. This series of ten playful English segments will explain how society evolved in such a way to enable a huge increase in production to be achieved. Of course there were no television cameras or film crews available 10,000 years ago to record what happened, so this series uses cartoons to illustrate how things might have been all those years ago! Each cartoon section is followed by real-world images showing how this is relevant today.
The Foundations of Wealth is designed to help students understand what the subject of Economics is all about. Economic decisions are made every day even though students may not be aware of them. For example, all of us think about: How will I choose to spend my time today? How will I choose to spend my money? Who made the things I use? How were they made? This series of videos will help explain a great deal about the way in which these decisions are made.
The Foundations of Wealth was devised by Sir Antony Jay, author of comedy series "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister". He is also founder, with John Cleese, of award winning training film producers Video Arts.
Episode 1. How It All Began (11 mins)
Key concepts: subsistence level, subsistence economy, scarcity, surplus
Episode 2. Division of Labour - i. Product (9 mins)
Key concepts: organisation, specialisation, efficiency, investment, capital
Episode 3. Division of Labour - ii. Process (10 mins)
Key concepts: trade, productivity, exports and imports, production line
Episode 4. Mechanisation (10 mins)
Key concepts: mechanical device, energy source, harnessing
Episode 5. A Life Worth Living (11 mins)
Key concepts: cultivation, goods and services, natural resources, leisure
Episode 6. The Market (11 mins)
Key concepts: voluntary exchange, command economy, incentive
Episode 7. Money (11 mins)
Key concepts: token of value, store of value, measure of wealth
Episode 8. Supply, Demand and Price - i. Price and the consumer (13 mins)
Key concepts: prices as information, law of demand, relative value
Episode 9. Supply, Demand and Price - ii. Price and the producer (13 mins)
Key concepts: gluts and shortages, innovation, law of supply, equilibrium price
Episode 10. The Mixed Economy (11 mins)
Key concepts: planned economy, market economy, public goods
Philip Trubey - This DVD is split into 10 episodes, each episode explaining an economic concept with the aid of an animated pre-historic village. The villagers need to solve problems they have in order to prosper, and each episode shows them coming up with an economic innovation like division of labor by product, or money, or understanding price signals. Each concept is clearly explained, and is appropriate for bright grade 4 kids on up to adults. Each episode is about 15-20 minutes long. I watched it with my grade 4 daughter and she kept asking to watch the next episode right away!
Charlene Ludwikowski, West Leyden Elementry School - The response was remarkable. Students found it both entertaining and though-provoking. The program deals with concepts that are often nebulous to a young mind, but with this format they were able to "wrap their minds around large ideas" and make them their own. This series of lessons helps us to prepare for the economic section of our state assessment. It is so crucial for students at this level to understand how the economy works both for schooling and their futures.
Brian Stevens, Mathematics Teacher - My favorite video is Foundations of Wealth. We usually use the student worksheets as we watch the video. Then we often have an activity associated with it to reach the kinesthetic learners. For example, when learning about specialization, we timed how long it took each kid to assemble a pop-up card that I created. Then we had those same kids specialize on a specific task and saw that they were able to assemble more together in the same amount of time than each student working independently.
Thomas McCarthy, Social Studies Teacher - I use The Foundations of Wealth video series to introduce the first four chapters in my single semester high school Economics class. Even though the video's targeted age group is younger than high school juniors and seniors, the handouts available online are perfectly applicable for these students for introducing basic economic theory. The students really like the simple, artistic style of the videos and we discuss each handout after watching its corresponding video. Each individual story about the village gives me specific examples I can refer back to as we tackle the more complicated economic theories. I assign the videos as follows:
- Ch. 1 What is Economics - FoW #1, 2, 3
- Ch. 2 Economic Systems and Decision Making - FoW #4, 5
- Ch. 3 Business Organizations - FoW # 6, 7
- Ch. 4, 5 Supply and Demand - FoW #8, 9, 10
After the completion of the video series and chapters 4 and 5, the students are instructed in groups to create a skit, using the village residents to help explain the remaining chapters of the course - International Trade, Money and Banking Economic Instability and Government Spending. After each chapter's test, one of the four groups performs their skit. This has been highly successful and popular among the students.