Kelli Keefer
Business and Communication, Marketing, Economics
Material Type:
Assessment, Lesson, Lesson Plan
High School
  • Iowa K-12 E-Curriculum
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

    Education Standards

    Economic Systems

    Economic Systems


    This lesson introduces students to the three main types of economic systems, command, market, and mixed. Students work with limited knowledge, not knowing about mixed systems until the very end. This allows students to see the pieces of command systems and market systems that are present in the United States and in their “ideal” economies.


    Learning Target 1.4:

    • Differentiate between the three main types of economic systems.


    • Iowa Business Education Core Standard #4:  Understands the economic principles and concepts fundamental to business operations.
      • Performance Element 4.3:  Understand economic systems to be able to recognize the environments in which businesses function.

    Required Prior Knowledge:

    • Wants vs Needs
    • Factors of Production
    • Economy

    Key New Vocabulary:

    • Economic System
    • Command Economy
    • Market Economy
    • Mixed Economy

    Getting Started: If You Created a Country...

    1. Here is a link to the slides that are used in Pear Deck.  
    2. Give students 3-5 minutes to answer their questions independently.  Then, have students discuss their answers with a partner or small group.  Let them know that they will be using the information from their discussions later in class.

      Go to and enter the code provided to you by your teacher.

      If you could start your own country, what would it be like? Type your answers to the following questions on slide 2 of the presentation.  Be prepared to discuss your answers in small groups.

      1. What is the name of the country?
      2. What will your country produce?  What type of businesses will it have?
      3. Who owns the businesses?  (The government or individuals?)
      4. Who gets the products or services that are created?
      5. Will any basic needs or wants be provided for? (ex: education, healthcare, food, etc.)


      Command Economies

      Watch the following video about command economies. After you watch, fill out the command economies section of the LT 1.4 Video Guide.  (Make sure to make a copy of this video guide and keep it handy because you will use it later in the lesson.)

      Command Economies

      As a class, we will discuss slides 3-9 using Pear Deck to learn a little more about command economies. 

      Market Economies

      Watch the following video about market economies. After you watch, fill out the market economies section of the LT 1.4 Video Guide. 

      Market Economies

      As a class, we will discuss slides 10-14 using Pear Deck to learn a little more about market economies.

      Small Group Discussion: Market Economies

      Open up this link to Jamboard.  You will work with a partner and type in your answers to each question.  Make sure to explain your thinking using complete sentences. The directions for using Jamboard are below.

      • Click on the sticky note tool on the left side of the Jamboard.

      sticky notes

      • Type in your answer in the sticky note box. Make sure to include both of your names!!!


      • Click Save and then move/resize your sticky note on the Jamboard.


      Discussion Questions:

      1. What motivates people to work in a market economy?
      2. Do you think that competition really keeps greed, self-interest, and prices in check?
      3. What role does the government play in a market economy?

      Small Groups: Create Your Own Country Project

      Create Your Own Country Project:

      An ancient artifact has been unearthed, giving you the ability to insert your own country anywhere in the world. Once you place your 20 square miles, the artifact goes dormant. Now is the time to get to work!

      Students will work in small groups for this project. You may choose to use the country one of your group members started working on during the intro activity or create a completely new one.  To have a successful country, you will need to answer the following questions.

      1. Name of the country and flag.
      2. Factors of Production:
        • Land - Where is your country located? Do some research and list out the land that is available naturally in that area!
        • Labor - Who will be allowed to move to your country? Will there be requirements on items such as their education level or ability to work specific jobs?
        • Capital - What capital will be needed? Will your businesses create them or will you import them?
        • Entrepreneurship - What kind of business will your country have? What goods and services will be created? You will need entrepreneurs to start the businesses, and who will be the labor?
      3. Wants vs Needs: Will the government provide for any of its citizen's wants and needs? Or is it up to each person? Will any basic needs be provided for? (Remember to think about things like education, insurance, a safety net for people in need, etc).
      4. What is the role of government in your country?
      5. How will prices be set for goods and services? By the businesses? Or will the government set prices?
      6. What (if anything) will the government regulate?

      Put everything together in a creative way, such as an infographic or commercial for your country. If you have your own idea run it by the teacher!

      Large Group Instruction: Mixed Economies

      What is a Mixed Economy?

      Watch the following video about mixed economies. After you watch the video, fill out the mixed economies section of the LT 1.4 Video Guide.

      Mixed Economies


      Class Discussion: Identify different ways the United States is a mixed economy.  Make sure to explain how the different pieces are examples of market, command, or mixed economic systems.

        Group Discussion: Is Our Country a Market, Command, or Mixed Economy?

        Group Discussion:  Reflect on the type of system that you chose to create with the following questions.

        1. Identify some areas that your economic system has that are from a command system and some areas that are from a market system.
        2. Which system most closely resembles the one you designed (market, command, or mixed)? Define that system and explain how yours compares. Explain referring to how you answered the questions on your economy.
        3. Identify at least 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses to the economic system that you created. (I suggest looking up the strengths and weaknesses of the various types of systems.)
        4. In the past, there has been a variety of economic systems, but today the most popular system is the mixed economy. Based on what you know about the United States and your created country, why do you think that is?

        Class Presentations: Share Your Country!

        Presentation: Groups will present their countries and reflections about their countries to the class. Audience members will fill out this sheet while listening.

        Grading Rubric:

        Areas that Need Work
        Standards for This Performance

        Evidence of Exceeding Standards

         Criteria #1:Students created a unique new economy with a name, flag, and clear description. 
         Criteria #2:Students explained how the four factors of production are used in their country. 
         Criteria #3:Students identified the government's role in their country. 
         Criteria #4:Students reflected on how their country incorporates pieces of command, market, and mixed economic systems.