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Our Summer Economics Education Road Trip

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Picture: Participating teachers watched a video segment about the Federal Reserve, and were asked to write true and false statements about the Fed’s structure and functions, and put them on the board. The statements would be used in building multiple choice questions on tests for their students.

 

AIER’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative went on the road this summer, and I’d like to report the results. Our Economics-Across-the-Curriculum approach encourages teachers to incorporate economic concepts as well as engaging teaching strategies into their classes on a variety of subjects.

This summer we collaborated with the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia on this program. Our partners also included the Massachusetts and Illinois Councils for Economic Education.

Eighty-three teachers attended our workshops this summer. This is a four-fold increase in the number of participating teachers as compared to our pilot programs at the AIER campus during the past two years.

One of our program’s distinctive features is the development of a lesson idea for implementation in the classroom. As we present our material, we demonstrate and discuss active learning techniques. Participants are challenged to think about how they can use these to support their students’ learning process. We devote some time to this task during the workshop and give this assignment as homework.

The lesson ideas include adding an interactive component on the subject of calculating the unemployment rate to a high school economics class; introducing students to data gathering in algebra class by creating a price index with items teenagers often buy; or introducing the concept of inflation to a Spanish class by demonstrating how prices are set in a roadside market in a Latin American country. The possibilities for engaging students are endless, and our participants continue to amaze us with their creativity.

We go even further to find out the impact of our program on students. We encourage teachers to consider field testing their lesson idea in the classroom. This year, we expect interesting lessons that bring economic concepts to such classes as family and consumer science, geography, entrepreneurship, life skills, graphic design, biology, and civics. These will be in addition to economics, social studies, history, math, government, politics, as well as financial literacy fields of study.

We hope to hear from the participants during the upcoming semester. As we hear their stories, we will bring them to you.

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