Inflation is a complicated concept. Under ideal circumstances, an inflation rate of 2 or 3 percent can be good for the economy, as it helps boost businesses' profits. Unchecked, however, inflation can lead not only to financial hardships for individuals but to widespread economic downturns. Students will learn how inflation is affected by supply and demand, how it existed long before paper currency, how it can be regulated, and how a lack of regulation can affect the economy. From examples throughout U.S. history and comparisons of the costs of goods over time, students will understand how different rates of inflation in different contexts affect the economy.