A New Lesson for High School Economics Education

At a Glance

  • Econ Essentials program helps students learn at their own pace

There are times when my students have trouble grasping economic concepts. But when those topics are transformed into an independent, interactive, and relevant learning experience, things definitely get easier. That experience is what Econ Essentials and the Facts About Food module aims to bring to the economics classroom.

Econ Essentials is a program designed to help high school students learn about economic principles, made possible by a partnership with CME Group and Discovery Education. This free program is aligned with high school economic standards and provides interactive resources to educators and students in grades nine through 12.

Learning at Their Own Pace

Each student controls their own learning pace throughout the module, with easily accessible vocabulary definitions and a glossary. As a teacher, I liked the ability to view a definition without having to leave the page.. However, if needed, I could quickly review the glossary terms with students to prepare them for the module, which would be great to use with any of my struggling learners.


Breaking Down Big Concepts

This Econ Essentials module does a great job of explaining concepts like risk and supply and demand through short videos. A personal favorite was “Risk on the Ranch”, which looks at the many factors that impact a rancher raising cattle. The module addresses everything from weather to gas prices to help students understand how the price of a steak is affected by what happens while the cattle are in the ranchers’ care.

Putting Knowledge to The Test

As students progress through the lesson, they have opportunities to answer questions. These short questions help students think about what they have learned.

The end of the module asks students to simulate advising a farmer, encouraging them to make decisions based on the information that they have learned in the Facts About Food module. This scenario can be played again if students want to see the results of different decisions, and how the farmer was impacted. The lesson closes with a post-assessment which asks students to select multiple correct answers —  something that teachers look for in an interactive question/answer tool.

In addition to three digital learning modules, Econ Essentials provides other tools and resources to support economics in the high school classroom, such as a three-part mini-documentary series following people who are shaping the world’s economics as we know it. Teachers can implement the video series in their instruction, complete with an Educator Companion Guide.

All of these resources help students grasp economics in a way they could not with older learning tools. The move from assigned reading and whiteboard instruction to interactive, real world learning is a welcome addition to my classroom. It’s also a sign of needed investment in economics education.

Explore Futures Fundamentals for more on how economics and futures markets work together

Jessica Donaldson is a pre-engineering teacher at Berkeley County School District in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.

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