Saturday, May 30, 2015

Teaching our last unit... economics!

Oh my goodness...we are on to our last unit of the year- economics! I remember when I first started teaching, I was perplexed that I had to teach econ to children. I remembered bits and pieces from high school, but the thought of teaching those graphs I studied for week to the students led me to confusion. Once I started reading the curriculum guide, I saw that it is VERY basic economics and actually a great thing for the kiddos to be learning.

I had a tough time finding quality resources that simplified economics, so I created my own interactive notebook and worksheets. I usually just use the interactive notebook though, my kids are big fans this year of these notebooks. They love cutting, flipping, and gluing these pieces into their notebooks for easy and learning and engagement.




To make the interactive notebook more preparation friendly, I give each student a giant packet with all the notebook pages for the unit, stapled together and one-sided. They keep it in their Unfinished Folder, and only pull out the page or two that I tell them that we will be working on. This makes it easier on their dear teacher to not have to pass out papers every time that we want to work on a page.



I also use these strange videos from the 90's called "Econ and Me." For whatever reason, these videos are magic to students. I have NEVER seen them look more intrigued and into one of our educational videos. There's some man wearing jorts talking about building a treehouse, and they are mystified by him. It's funny what kids find interesting and fun to watch :-)




I currently have a big two-day activity in mind for my economics unit. Not quite sure how it will work, but here is what I am thinking. If you are done with testing and looking for a fun day-long activity for your kids, this year I want to try out a "Day of Econ." The kids and I discuss services and business. We also will discuss money, wants, and needs. The students will create their own businesses! They get one day to plan, and then a day to set their business into action. During the planning phase, they think of a service that they want to offer other students. I am hoping for lots of creativity! It could be a restaurant, a nail salon, a movie theater, etc. The kids will bring in food for a restaurant, nail polish for a salon, bring in a iPad and movie for theater, etc. Other students will have a set amount of cash. Students will see that they have to make choices with their wants and needs, as well as  practice making change. Since I do not want any students being sad that no one chose to "visit" their business because they are out of money, I will also give kids chance to earn more money. For example, cleaning up the room or helping me out will gain more money. This could be a week-long behavioral incentive situation as well :-)

 I am looking forward to seeing what my students come up with! It's still just a vision and idea in my head, but I think with a little more planning it will bring economics to life and truly "click" with my students in a real-life setting.

What do you do for economics? Do you have any ideas or lessons that you enjoy implementing?

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