Economic Music Videos, and Other Teaching Tools
Picture: Berkshire County teachers who participated in the Economics Across the Curriculum workshop on November 8, 2016, in front of AIER. Kneeling (L to R): James Berlstein, Robert Thistle; Middle row (L to R): Joseph Bazzano, Natalia Smirnova (AIER), Kristina Farina, Ann Barber, Michelle Ryan (AIER); Back row (L to R): James Hurley, Edward Collins, Lucas Polidoro, Matthew Gottfried, Steve Estelle.
Rockonomix is an innovative project which encourages students to make their own videos that combine music with basic economic principles. The founder of Rockonomix joined us by satellite earlier this month at a professional development day for the Berkshire County schools.
First, let’s talk about the day itself, which was devoted to discussing creative ways of teaching economics to high school students. We are passionate about the Economics-Across-the-Curriculum approach within AIER’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative (TTI), bringing economics lessons to a wide variety of classroom subjects.
We started by introducing AIER to 11 participating teachers: its history, its tradition of business cycle analysis, and its proprietary indexes, such as the Everyday Price Index and the College Destination Index.
Two teachers from Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, who are alumni of this program, were our guest presenters.
Steve Estelle shared his lesson about the Student Price Index, which he created and has taught several times in his Financial Algebra class. The Student Price Index measures the changes in prices of items students would ordinarily buy, like donuts, chips, coffee, and gasoline. His students tracked the price of their selected goods over time. He explained how to handle the students’ debate about which goods and services to include in their class’ market basket, how to manage the data collection process, and how to make sure that students learn the basics of index construction.
Another TTI alumna, Kristi Farina, showcased her lesson on exponential function in AP Algebra class by using Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the Consumer Price Index. She explained the steps in selecting and downloading data, creating and managing teams, and setting up step-by-step handouts for students to lead them through the assignment.
We shared several resources that can be used in the classroom. For instance, we showed the teachers our creative scavenger hunt exercise using the Web site FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data).
Then the founder of Rockonomix, Kim Holder, joined us by satellite. Kim, who is the director of the University of West Georgia’s Center for Economic Education, showed us amazing videos that students can create to help them learn economics in an enjoyable way. Kim’s idea of engaging students is simple: use students’ interests, like listening to the latest hit song or watching the newest viral video, to lead them to learn economic concepts. Here is the video “Save,” a parody of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” that we saw during the program: “Save what you want to save, don’t let it all run out. Honestly, I want to see you save…”
We like to see students enthusiastically embracing the concept of saving ”funds” for their needs and wants.
Kim also described the national competition of economics videos that takes place in the spring every year. She encouraged Berkshire teachers to motivate students to participate.
We wrapped up the productive day by discussing lesson ideas to implement in the classroom. Participants represented teachers of social studies, mathematics, computer science, accounting, and career readiness. We are excited to see if any of the ideas will be realized in their classes in upcoming months. We always support the integration of economics across the curriculum!