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Six Basic Ways to Teach Economics/Entrepreneurship In Your Classroom 1. Teaching Activities on Specific Concepts 2. Classroom Mini-Economies (Classroom Currency) 3. Classroom Businesses (Using Real Money) 4. Literature-Based Instruction 5. Using the Stock Market Game. TM 6. Everyday Classroom Situations
What is a Mini-Economy? And Why Should I Use One?
The mini-economy is a form of economics instruction in which students participate in a classroom economy in order to simulate real world economic activity.
Five Basic Elements of a Mini-Economy ECONOMICS INSTRUCTION CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT APPLICATION OF BASIC SKILLS MONEY MANAGEMENT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Why Use a Mini-Economy? Reason 1: The Mini-Economy Helps Teach Economic Concepts Reason 2: The Mini-Economy Integrates Easily into the Rest of the Curriculum Reason 3: The Mini-Economy Improves Student Learning • Real as opposed to vicarious • Active rather than passive • Actual decision-making and bearing the consequences
Reason 4: The Mini-Economy Models Our Economic System Reason 5: The Mini-Economy Is a Tremendous Motivator Reason 6: The Mini-Economy Helps Students Learn How to Manage Money Reason 7: The Mini-Economy Develops Entrepreneurial Competency
Figure 1 -2 Types of Mini-Economies COMPLEX Kourilsky I II TEACHER DIRECTED ● STUDENT DIRECTED III ● IV New Mini-Economy SIMPLE
Three Important Things to Remember About Operating a Mini-Economy 1. EXPAND MINI-ECONOMY ACTIVITIES GRADUALLY Don’t Try to Do Everything at Once 2. GIVE STUDENTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR HANDLING MANY MINI-ECONOMY DETAILS Don’t Do What Your Students Can Do 3. USE THE MINI-ECONOMY TO TEACH BASIC ECONOMIC CONCEPTS Don’t Use the Mini-Economy Primarily for Classroom Management
“My son is one of the students with special needs. His disability – autism – makes it very difficult for him to understand abstract concepts…. Through the use of these many different approaches, Mrs. Salsman has been able to achieve a real breakthrough with my son and teach him so much about the value of money, working, getting paid, spending and saving. For a child with his disability to have made so much progress in one school year could easily be considered a miracle. ”
Five Steps for Starting a Mini-Economy Step 1: Design the Classroom Money
Step 2: Decide How Students Will Earn Money Classroom Jobs Payment for Desired Behavior Mini-Economy Businesses
Payment for Desired Behavior
Step 3: Determine What Items and Privileges the Money Will Buy
Step 4: Determine How to Distribute Items and Privileges Classroom Store Auction
Step 5: Do It!
Expanding Your Mini-Economy
Life Necessities One simple, yet powerful way to add realism to a mini-economy is to require students to pay for various “necessities of life. ”
Banks A bank is a natural for the mini-economy. See the Mini-Economy Banking Program at http: //www. econed-in. org/mebp. asp
Insurance Companies Insurance is one of the most popular aspects of the mini-economy.
Government and Taxes Government and taxes are aspects of the mini-economy that are easy to implement.
Real Estate One of the easiest ways to add realism and excitement into your mini-economy is by introducing the concepts of real estate and private contracts.
Businesses Many teachers report that mini-economy businesses are the most rewarding and instructive aspect of their mini-economies.
Investments Adding investments to the mini-economy creates much interest and enthusiasm, and provide an excellent opportunity to use many basic math skills.
Exchange Rates If there is another mini-economy in your school, it is easy to introduce the concept of exchange rates.
Teaching Economics in the Mini-Economy Classroom The mini-economy classroom provides a perfect setting for teaching students the basic economic concepts that are part of the social studies curriculum.
The Actual Classroom Environment Economics is an integral part of the world around us and permeates virtually all facets of life, including the elementary and middle school classroom. Use Everyday Classroom Situations Use Economics Vocabulary Whenever Possible Sample: The school secretary’s job is important to our school. The school secretary provides a valuable service to our school.
Existing Curriculum Economic concepts and themes are found throughout the curriculum. Social Studies Language Arts Math
Economic Education Materials There are many excellent economic education materials available to teachers. Kids. Econ Posters Play Dough Economics Focus: Economics Grade 3 -5 www. kidseconposters. com http: //store. ncee. net/focus 35. html http: //store. ncee. net/playdough economics. html