Australia: A Trading Nation
Anita Forsyth and SOSESAV
Audience: Lower and middle secondary
Purpose: This unit examines the nature and importance of trade to the Australian economy. Students investigate why this is an important economic issue for the Australian nation as we head into the 21st century.
Links to Curriculum:
SOSE Level 5, Economy and Society Strand, especially outcome 5.3: Explain key factors that influence the Australian Economy – indicator: Examine the nature and importance of trade to the Australian economy.
Discovering Democracy links
Discovering Democracy through Research
AFSSSE – IMPLEMENTING DISCOVERING DEMOCRACY
Author: Anita Forsyth
Unit title – Australia: A Trading Nation
Discovering democracy materials used – This unit uses the approach outlined in ‘Discovering Democracy Through Research’. Students will be required to complete a number of tasks which will encompass some aspect related to using an investigative approach. Active citizenship begins in the classroom. Teaching and learning which encourages student participation, investigation, decision-making and enterprise equips students with skills to be active citizens.
Links to local curriculum – Curriculum and Standards Framework II, Studies of Society and Environment Key Learning Area, Level 5 Economy and Society Strand, Outcome 5.3 Explain key factors that influence the Australian Economy – indicator: Examine the nature and importance of trade to the Australian economy.
Description of Unit
This unit examines the nature and importance of trade to the Australian economy. It is an important economic issue in the Australian economy which sheds light on the Australian nation – what sort of nation as we head into the 21st century.
A glance at our daily newspapers would leave the reader in no doubt about the significance of economic issues in our daily lives. The principles of economics bear directly on our lives, affecting people in their roles as consumers, savers, investors, producers, workers, voters and citizens. A better understanding of economics and the way our Australian economy works enables our students to better understand the forces that affect them every day and that will affect in the 21st century.
Of course just teaching about economics issues, problems and policies is not enough to achieve more active citizenship. Teaching about economics through inquiry, research, investigation and participation will develop skills and attitudes that help students identify and evaluate the consequences of private decision and public policies.
This unit will develop important global citizenship understandings as they learn about global economic, technological, social and political issues and their interdependence.
Main suggested research activities
Task 1 - Create a Context
This is a ‘warm-up’ task to allow students to develop an awareness of Australia’s external relationships.
Task Duration – 2-3 periods
Investigating current issues on the trade agenda for Australia
Nations engage in trade to improve their living standards. When a country sells goods or services overseas, it generates income. How important are exports for Australia’s continued economic growth and development? How important are exports for Australian jobs?
Task 2 – Visual Display
Task Duration: 3-4 periods
Students examine data on Australia’s main imports, exports and trading partners. Using the statistical data, students to prepare a visual display that represents Australia’s trading patterns over the last 10 years. The display could include the following
Russell Ives, et al (2000) SOSE Commerce, Jacaranda: Melbourne, 2nd edition pp172-4, 192-200
Jeremy Loftus-Hills (2001) Middle School Commerce – E-textbook for CSF II, Loftus-Hills Consulting: Melbourne
Task 3 – Investigation and Report
Task Duration: 4 periods
The Australian government has a policy of ‘opening markets’, which means actively encouraging free trade. This means removing trade barriers that discourage the ‘free’ flow of goods and services between economies. Many believe that free trade is a way of increasing Australia’s economic growth and prosperity. Others are against free trade and say we need to keep some trade barriers to ‘protect’ local industries and employment.
Students are to conduct an investigation which
Ives ibid. pp 194-96
Loftus-Hills ibid. Topics 14-17
‘Opening Markets – Does it Benefit Australia/’ in Studies of Society and Environment, No. 3, 2000, Ryebuck Media Pty. Ltd. Melbourne and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Task 4 Groupwork - Students work in small teams and complete either task a) or task b)
Task Duration: 4 periods
Create a brochure for potential Australian exporters that provides advice on how to become a successful exporter.
b) Select or invent a product and develop a strategy for exporting this product to a country of your choice. Use the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade web-site at www.dfat.gov.au section on ‘Services to Businesses’ to help you.
On completion of either task a) or b) the groups are to present the results of their work to the class.
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