Tuesday, December 13, 2016


If your students are anything like mine, they like to talk about the election and what will happen after President-Elect Trump takes office. One thing they have asked about is healthcare. Most of them do not understand what healthcare is, let alone, why it is so expensive. This video explains some of that in a fun way. I pause it at 1:54 and talk about how many mandates there are in my state, according to this video there are 58. It is also fun to introduce this by asking each student what they like on their pizza and opening up Pizzahut.com and seeing what the cost of a pizza would be if you added the toppings everyone wanted. Even though this is from ReasonTV, it presents the topic in an interesting way. the last part of the lesson is we come up with solutions as to how to curb health care costs.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Caitlin Tucker's Blended Learning Video Library

One of the people I follow on Twitter is teacher Caitlin Tucker who has a great library of what is meant by blended learning and how a teacher can implement it in the classroom.  Above is one on creating a flipped classroom. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


My wife happened across this website. It has some great pic-o-graphs about a number of economic issues. I am not sure how I would use this as an assignment, but most certainly I would use it for off-shoot issues we tend to talk about, like what an economic choice it is to have kids. I tend to talk about that when talking about opportunity cost. This is great for any level to enhance any discussion.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fake News Fake Out

There have been a number of stories, that have been showing up on Facebook and Twitter, that have been calling attention to fake news stories and sites. This push seems to be rooted in the election, though this can be connected to economics in a big way. This isn't even talking about economic illiteracy, but instead on news that could cause economic problems. Many of us and most of our students get our news from social media sites, which by design, only show us news based on our own likes and biases. It is important our students know how to tell which news is real and which is fake. Google and Facebook are even getting into the story. Here is a Wall Street Journal article related to this topic.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Study Using Quizzes

I really enjoyed this article on studying and the use of quizzes to do it. This quote, "“The issue with learning is, no one ever sits down and teaches you how to study" is something I start the year telling my classes. How many times have all of us heard, "I don't know why I did so poorly on the test, I studied for hours." I normally ask them how they studied and if they had all distractions, namely their phone, turned off and in the other room. If students are being honest, they normally are trying to multitask, which one cannot do while trying to study. I am going to require this article for all of my students to read at the start of next semester. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Election Economics

I want to start this blog by saying that I AM NOT pushing one political agenda over another. I think it is important that students understand the economics on what the new president-elect has promised. The video is done by Mr. Jacob Clifford, examining the economic policies put forth by both candidates, here is an article detailing President-Elect Trump's possible policy on tariffs. Last here is the link to Planet Money's podcasts, I would suggest scrolling to #387 The No-Brainer Economic Platform, in which they interview a number of economists from all over the political spectrum.


Friday, November 11, 2016


One of the many things I love about teaching economics is the fact that it is in the news all of the time. The issue is I do not have the time to read everything. This app helps with that. It gives a brief and understandable summation of financial news brought right to your phone. It is totally worth the few minutes to sign up.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Economics of Baseball

Last baseball post until Sping Training Promise. Here are an article and video on the profitability of the Cubs. I am a big time Cubs fan and I was so excited that I got to see something generations have not seen. With that said, I will be cheering for Cleveland to make it back and break their own drought. With increase demand, low costs, an inelastic supply curve, this article is great for discussion.

I also included a video talking about how bad an investment in public stadiums and big public events are for a city. I wanted to throw that in in case you wanted to go deeper in discussion. One thing about Wrigley, where the Cubs play, it is 102 years old and they are not calling for a stadium.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Economics of Daylight Savings Time

I am not sure why, but I really do not like daylight savings. Yeah, I do not like driving to work in the dark, but something about daylight savings bugs me. I envy those of you who live in states that do not mess with time! With that said, I wondered if there could be an actual reason not to like that which was a Ben Franklin idea. Here comes the Wall Street Journal. It turns out that daylight savings has a negative effect on consumer spending. The article has a ton of other economics concepts from supply and demand to GDP. It made for a fun warm up for my classes today and led to some fun debate. Enjoy

Friday, October 28, 2016

Economics and the World Series

I am a big time Cubs fan. Many in my family have either passed and never seen them in a World Series, let alone seen them win one. Anyways, these two articles have come out recently. This one deals with the price of tickets for the games at Wrigley, and this one deals with bars charging high prices for tables. Each is a great lesson in supply and demand and elasticity. I always like to use current events to illustrate economic concepts and this is spot on. With a perfectly inelastic supply curve for Wrigley, and close to one for tables at the bars, and a very inelastic demand curve for tickets and seats at bars in the neighborhood, this is an easy lesson on market forces and prices.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Diminishing Marginal Returns

Years ago I made a few YoutTube videos for class because I was running behind. I hope to continue to make more in the future. One of the videos I made was about supply, and within the video was the concept of diminishing marginal utility. This is a concept that is hard to make stick with the students, but could not be more important to understanding a number of other concepts within economics. With that said, I tried to develop a lesson that would stick with students and would be something that they would look forward to each year. I found such a lesson a few years back.

I heard of the milk challenge a number of years ago. For those who do not know, a very small percentage can drink a full gallon of milk in an hour. Most of the time it leads to getting sick. I thought that most students would think they could do it and so I set out to see if students were interested. It turns out they were and this lesson was born.

Here is my disclaimer: Only do this lesson if your teaching style, students, parents, and administrators fit to do so. I am in such a situation, but understand that not everyone is. Here is what I do:
1. They already know what marginal and utility mean so we review that.
2. I have 2 students bring a note from home stating that it is ok for their student to participate.
3. I buy, from my seat sell money, 2 dozen donuts. I used to use milk, but there was an incident in which a student got sick all over the bathroom floor, so I switched to donuts because students tend to stop faster.
4. I tell students that on a scale from one to ten that they need to keep track of their utility with every donut they eat. I tell them I need honesty in order for the numbers to give a true sense of their diminishing marginal utility.
5. I take the sheet, plug it into Excel, make a graph and we all see the downward trend of their utility.

This lesson sticks and every year students cannot wait for it. I get asked from day one when are we going to do this.

Again, be careful, but have fun!

Monday, October 24, 2016

PD Webinar From KC Fed

If you have not bookmarked the Kansas City Fed's educators page, you should. There are a number of resources there. They do a number of webinar's on all things economics. This webinar was very well done. Though I do not teach history anymore, I know I would have used this one if I still did. I love history and it really comes alive if economics is taught through a historical lens.  My students always found US history more interesting if there was an economic bent to it.

Take a few minutes and explore both pages, you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Outsourcing and Sweatshop Case Study

One of the many things I love about economics is that we get to talk about all sorts of things happening in the world today. I always tell my students that they should never leave class, thinking to themselves, "I'll never use that in my life." With that said, we also get to venture into controversial issues. I know that we all different ideas as to how to go about doing this. I tell students that I do not care what their opinions are, as long as they know: 1. Evidence to support their view 2. The side of the argument and 3. Understand that both sides have an appeal. We are starting our look at the economic principle of "Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth." In doing so, I like to start by talking about sweatshops and outsourcing.

The topic of sweatshops they literally come into contact with every day. I have them look at where their shirts and shoes were made. Few, if any, have any articles of clothing made in the USA, Canada, or Western Europe. I ask them why... I get a bunch of different answers, but someone always comes up with the fact that labor is more expensive in aforementioned areas. I ask why... Again I get a bunch of different answers, sometimes I get that labor is more expensive because of education and the type of work we do. I then show them the videos above. Again, telling them they need not agree with any of it. They then get the assignment below in which they get to read a little and take a stand and let me know their opinion. I tell them


Thursday, October 13, 2016

FEE Event

This last Tuesday my school was fortunate enough to have FEE come in and host a workshop for students and parents. It was a massive success. Parents were into it just as much as the students were. The workshop was well put together. Students received reading material and even kept the proceeds from the trade game they ran. If you are interested, I would contact them. This took about 6 months to get nailed down, but it was well worth it.

In addition, the FEE website is a great resource for lessons, reading materials, and even courses. If you have not checked it out, I would suggest you do so, you will find it very helpful.

Monday, October 10, 2016

UpFront Magazine

I have written about UpFront Magazine before. It is a magazine subscription from Scholastic and written by the New York Times. The articles are well done, short, and fair. The subscription does not cost much and I can say that between government and economics, there are always at least 2-3 articles per issue that I can use. Even more, if you teach U.S. History. In this month's edition, there is a great story about technology and the ever changing labor market. I have linked the start of the article here. You will need a subscription to read the full article. These can be used for bell ringers, or in the case, a class discussion. It is will worth the few dollars.

There are also a number of other resources relating to the materials found in the magazine on the website, from videos to lesson plans.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Spiral - "Free" Student Collaboration

I have just stumbled across this website called Spiral. It is a student collaboration website that requires no downloading on either the student or teacher's part. The registration is quick and there are three tools to use. I could see this being used as a bell ringer in which students are asked a quick question for discussion and have them respond, then debriefing from there. I also think that could be used for group projects to help keep track of conversations.  

Monday, September 26, 2016


I am always looking for ways to learn about new ways to introduce and use technology into my classroom. I just found EdTech, a company that is focused on professional develop in the digital arena. They have individual courses and the ability to come to you and present on an abundance of technological topics. 

In addition, they also offer books on tech topics and a blog that I am going to start to follow. All in all, this looks like a wonderful resource.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Seat Sale Activity

One of the struggles I have had in the past to how to get students excited about economics from the start of the class. I have found a solution to that problem in the form of a seat sale activity. I tell students when I assign them to bring in the change that their parents, through taxes, have paid for them to be there, but not paid for where they are sitting.

I have not found a way to do this activity on the first day of class instead, I wait until the class rosters have been set and I can have students bring money, I tell them pocket change, into class. I do not make loans, as I tell them I am like the mob, I charge high rates of interest and I never forget. I tell those who forgot to get loans from friends. And so the lesson of economics starts. I run a dutch auction in which I start with a high price and work my way down. The student that makes a sound first, bids that price on that seat. I tell them what I think as to the best seats and the worst. I tell them if they do not want a ton of eye contact, the first row is best, because it is weird to just talk to the first row. There are desks next to my desk, which I tell them those are the worse, because they are the furthest from the door and if they knock over any of my kid's pictures, we are going to have a problem, and so on. Once we get through about half of the seats, I run a lottery, in which I sell a few seats for $.10. I have students write their name and a number between 1-100 and use random.org to pick said number. It is great, when I know students want to sit next to each other, I drive up the cost of the seat. I also leave seats open, and sometimes create a shortage by pulling seats out, or even find broken seats and sell them at lower prices. Either way, it is a good way to learn names, teach some economics, and raise money for other activities I do in class.

We go back to this activity throughout the semester. Supply and demand, institutions (in this case me) mattering, market structures, really it comes up a ton throughout. Parents like it, as it creates interest in the class and I like it as it provides me some small funds for other things I do in class.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Who Was Adam Smith?

I am not sure if anyone out there likes to nerd out on economics as much as I do, but some people might suggest that I have a problem. I really have enjoyed learning just about everything there is to know about pre-Adam Smith, the life and writings of Adam Smith, and finally the lasting impacts of Adam Smith. Through George Mason University, you can learn all you want and much more about the father of economics. I really like the clip above, as Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments is discussed. I enjoy using this with students to talk about and debate what Smith wrote about as to the role of the individual and the role of government. Of course, if you are looking for information about The Wealth of Nations, you can find that at the website listed below.

Have fun Adam Smith nerds!!!!!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Speakeasy Ideas

A good friend of mine, Dr. Thomas Krannawitter, has launched a website that infuses videos and activities. The unit my class is working through has to do with the ideas of productivity, voluntary trade, and wealth creation. The videos are short and engaging and the worksheets are great. There is even an option for online quizzes that work great for a flipped classroom. These videos will certainly lead to some great discussions. This is resources well spent!

A preview of the video asking, "What is poverty" can be found here: http://speakeasyideas.com/upward-preview/

The website to find the product is: http://speakeasyideas.com/video-courses/

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Puzzle Game

I love teaching economics. There are a number of reasons, one of which is that since it is a social science, we can do social experiments. I tell my students that any time I can mess with them, I am going to take full advantage, and thus, the puzzle game. I do this as part of my introduction to economics unit. In that unit there are six economic principles: 1. People Choose and All Decisions Are Rational 2. All Choice Involves Cost and All Decisions Are Made At The Margin 3.People Respond To Incentives in Predictable Ways and Are Maximizers 4. Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth 5. Government and Economic Institutions Influence Individual Choices and Incentives 5. The Consequence of Choice is Found in the Future. I tell them the rest of macro/micro economics are set on those principles. 

Within the "Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth" part, I do this activity. I went out and bought some puzzles, with money I made from my second-day activity which is a seat sale, at Walmart. 

These are two sided puzzles that are 108 pieces each. They are challenging, but not impossible. I offer an incentive, a nice tie back to principle #3, which for my students is $5 each to Chick-fil-a, again I use the money from the seat sale. I thought about allowing them to not take one of the reading quizzes we do each week as an incentive as well, but did not this year. I divide students into groups of 4 or less and let them start. Once a student asks to see a picture of the puzzles completed, I project those. As they start to work they realize, normally about half way through, that not all of the pieces of the puzzle are there and that they have pieces from everyone else's puzzle. I tell them that they cannot just go and take puzzle pieces, but instead must find a way to trade in order to finish. I normally have one to two groups finish. This takes a whole 50-minute class. In addition, I always give students a hard time for their lack of good music choices, so as they are playing we listen to music from the 60's-80's. 

After the activity, we relate it back to the 6 core principles... What decisions involved cost? Was the incentive enough to get you to participate, if not, what more (marginal benefit) could I have offered to get you more involved? The winning team did receive the gift card, but what did you trade? How is that the same as wealth creation? How were you acting in your own self-interest? Was it selfish to want to win? Was it selfish to give pieces to another group even if you did not trade? And so on. The students really like this activity. It is a great way to engage the whole class to learn that economics is not just something written about in a textbook. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

AP Teacher Grant

The National Society of High School Scholars is offering ten $500 grants to Advanced Placement teachers for the 2016-17 academic year.

The grants may be used for supplies, materials, equipment, field trips, or other educational experiences. Any educator (in the U.S. or internationally) teaching Advanced Placement courses in any subject is eligible.

Applications become available August 15, 2016, and the deadline to apply is September 23, 2016.

Grant recipients will be notified October 5, 2016.

For more information and details on how to apply, visit http://www.nshss.org/about-nshss/educators/opportunities/

Thank you, Andrew Conneen for this information. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Whiteboards Galore

It is the end of the school year for most and as we near that final day I take a look around my classroom to see what I can do more effectively to help students understand economics. Because I love economics and data I like to break down the amount of time I spend doing certain activities and figure out if there are trends that help students more than others. One thing I have found, the more "board" work I can give them in class, the better their grades on subjects such as supply and demand and GDP. Therefore, last year I put up homemade whiteboards all around my classroom and have them do board work almost every day. I have seen a major improvement in scores. Here is a video showing you how to make a nice board for your room.

You can also buy the board and have them cut it into 30 pieces and have individual boards. All up to you.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

60 Seconds Adventures in Economics

I just came across these videos. They are quick and well done. These videos are great for introducing a topic. They will keep students' attention and have to wealth of information to them. The link is for all of the videos, but each is done in segments. These would make great bell ringers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Quizlet Live

I discovered the join of using Quizlet Live in my AP Government class. We were doing this while reviewing court cases. I think this can be used in any economics course. I tell students that economists have created a new language that only they can understand, so that they can continue to have jobs. The most difficult thing about economics is forgetting definitions of words you thought you knew and learning new ones, like aggerate, marginal, etc. Quizlet Live is a fun way to review terms. Other benefits include: 
1. Students are already familiar with it 
2. They can use a phone, iPad, or laptop
3. They must work as a team to complete the questions
4. You can use what others have created 

This took my students a question or two to get used to, but once they did, they had a blast. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Council for Economic Education

If you have not checked out the Council for Economic Education's website, it is full of great resources. One of my favorites is the book listed above. It is full of interactive lessons for economics. There are activities about supply and demand, to market structures, to PPF's and comparative advantage. I use these in my AP classes and regular classes and I always get great feedback on evaluations when I use them then. In my opinion, this is a must for anyone teaching economics.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Google Certified Teacher

It's that time of the year when I start to think ahead to summer and what I want to do to better myself. I am going to try and become a Certified Trainer for Google. I think this going to be helpful to my students and peers. Our school has moved almost completely to Google for most everything and it seems that is the way many schools are going.

You can find the information of completing the different levels here. Whoever said teachers get months off in the summer?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Big Picture with Kal Penn

I like to binge watch Netflix shows. One show that I have found that might be something I can bring an episode into my class is, "The Big Picture with Kal Penn." Students might find this interesting as they might recognize Kal Penn from shows like Scrubs, House, How I Met Your Mother, and other movies and TV shows. In one episode, the show looks at Te Iubesc, Romania, or also known as Hackerville. They look at the thigh number of hackers in that town, as well as undersea cables and how the world is connected. They use numbers to discover different aspects of human behavior. If anything else, it is very interesting.

Though there are some episodes, or even parts of episodes, that I would not show, the use of numbers and human behavior would make an economist smile.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Propose an AP Economic Class

I love teaching my AP Micro/Macro- economics class. It is my favorite class to teach and I always get students that major in economics because of it. I did not major in economics and had only taken a few courses in the subject before my first teaching assignment. It was because of books like: Freakonomics, Naked Economics, and New Ideas from Dead Economists, that I found a love for the subject. When I took a job at a new school, I proposed an AP economics course. It was the best career move I had ever made, mainly because of the subject. It keeps me interested and I get to meet some of the brightest students I have ever known. The teacher's guide from college board can be found here. I will post more materials to help get you started. In addition, there is a Facebook community of AP Economic Teachers that is wonderful.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Game Theory Part 2

To introduce game theory I show the above video. I stop it right before they reveal split or steal. I write the matrix on the board found below. I also ask the students what they think will happen. It is normally 1/4 slip on what could happen. The students enjoy this.


                                              Steal                                    Split
                        Steal           0%, 0%                                 100%, 0%
Female            Split            0%, 100%                             50%, 50%

The I show them this clip. They go crazy. Then I have them read a chapter in Think Like a Freak. The chapter titled, "What do King Soleman and David Lee Roth Have in Common?" It is a fun chapter that talks about a number of topics from medieval trails to phone scams.

Next, we play a card game the runs like this: each student is given a red or a black playing card, the values do not matter. We play 3 rounds in which I randomly pair students. I say, "Ready, set play" and they play their cards. If both play red, they each get 2 points, if one plays back and the other red, then the one that plays black gets 3 points and the one that plays red gets 0, if they both play black, each player receives 0 points. After the first 3 rounds, we play 3 more rounds in which they play with the same partner over and over again. I normally give a small prize to the person who has the highest score.

The last thing I do is an online quiz with a twist. My students remember this lesson years later and it is this: a quiz is put online, for us it is Schoology. It is an open note quiz and take it at any time within a week. Here is the twist, if no one takes it, everyone gets a 100%. If one person takes it and gets 1 answer correct, they get a 100% everyone else gets a 0. I do say, for safety reasons, I will never tell who took the test first. If more than one person takes it, they get the grade they get. One would think that no one would take, but they do not trust each other and they all end up taking the quiz. Admittedly, this one is all in how you present it.

This makes for two of the most fun days in economics.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Game Theory Part 1

My favorite subject to teach in all of economics is game theory. I teach it about the same in both AP and regular economics. Most introductory microeconomics courses are focused on market structures. Students mostly take notes on three of four market structures, but for oligopoly, students get a two-day lesson. This all starts with them reading the first chapter of Charles Wheelan's Naked Economics. In it, he writes about why there are so few airline providers... HINT - It has to do with limited gate space. Here is a summary of the chapters in the book. I also have the students read this article, from the New York Times, that gives different reasons. This is also a great tie in with price floors, if you have already done supply and demand.

I then play a quick game in which I bring in a $20 bill and I put them in a game. I tell them I would like to give the $20 to the person who thinks they deserve it the most. The problem is scarcity, as I only have one $20 bill. Since there is scarcity, I also can give points back on a quiz, normally 5 points. They must get out a small piece of paper and put their name on it. Their options are as follows: 1. If they think they deserve the $20 most, they put a #2 on the paper. If they want the points, they put a 0 on the paper. If only one person puts a 2 on the paper, that person must come up and get the $20 in front of everyone. If more than one person puts a 2 down their paper, no one gets anything, because I cannot give out both the points and I cannot split the $20. If everyone puts down the 0, then everyone gets the 5 points. In years of doing this, I have only given the money up once and the points up none of the time; therefore, most of the time, all classes get nothing.

I then show the clip from, "A Beautiful Mind" in which the real John Nash, comes up with the idea of game theory.

Next time I will go through the other games/videos I do with the students to illustrate this concept.

If you're new to economics, or you need a refresher on market structures, here it is. Crash Course Game Theory. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

US Debt

One subject that my students love to talk about is the US debt. There are numerous reasons why, but I feel one reason is that they know it will effect them directly. I also think they like talking in big numbers. Whatever the case may be, I always start off by showing them the US Debt Clock. There is so much going on here, that I have to take some time to explain what they are looking at. It is difficult to wrap one's head around the massive numbers and I think this video does a good job in making the numbers visible. I also show I.O.U.S.A. though some of the numbers have changed, the overall issues have not. Here is the 30 minute version. This lesson is always a winner in my classroom.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Money and Banking

This is a webinar from the Federal Reserve Bank, St. Louis branch. The website has some great resources for educators. With spring break upcoming, I like to do a little professional development during that time. This video has a lot in it in the way of information, ideas, and a good way to launch into money and banking.

Friday, April 15, 2016


I went to this conference two years ago and had a great time! All I had to pay was my way out there. The people and networking made it well worth the price.

June 15 – 17, 2016
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 

Join us to learn new strategies for teaching AP economics. Whether you are a seasoned economics instructor or new to the discipline, we'll have something to benefit you. Federal Reserve economists, AP economics exam readers, AP economics instructors, and St. Louis Fed economic education staff will present a program packed with the information you need to be successful in teaching AP economics.

This conference will feature:
  • 18 hours of professional development;
  • certificates of completion; and
  • continental breakfast, lunch and Wednesday evening reception.
There is no fee, but you must register by June 10. Parking is complimentary.
Click here for more information.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What motivates us?

This is one of my favorite clips to show my classes. We talk about companies like Netflix, Apple, Google, etc. that they have heard are great companies to work for and why they hold that reputation. We also talk about what that means if they start a company, as well as what that means for educaiton.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Personal Finance Classroom Resources Webinar

Though I do not teach Personal Finance, I know many of you do. Here is a great class for those who do. I would recommend anything the Kansas City Branch of the Fed puts out. 

Focus on Personal Finance:
Power up with lessons, videos and more during our webinar

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
3-4 p.m. (CST)
2-3 p.m. (MST)
Calling all high school educators who teach about personal finance: Join us Tuesday, April 26 for Classroom ECONnections with the Fed. The free quarterly webinar shares key resources from the Federal Reserve System.

Economic education experts will point you to a variety of materials tied to personal finance instruction—including printed lessons, publications, videos and online courses—to enhance your teaching and better engage your students. There is no charge for participation, but registration is required for the session, which will feature specialists from various Federal Reserve Banks.
After registration, you will receive an email with directions on how to connect to the webinar.
For more information, contact Jennifer Clark.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Games for Learning

One of the reasons I love teaching economics is because of the opportunity to have students play games. On the first day, we tell students that they will have more opportunity to win things and play games, than in any other subject. Though this video talks about using video games in the classroom, which I do not do, I do think there is something to be said about making class interesting and fun!

Here and here are some other sites for game ideas. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

World's Population reduced to 100

I am sure we all have seen, or teach, the idea of what if the world's population was reduced down to 100 people. There are many different varieties of this, but this one seems to have the best animation. Though I do not show the end of this video, I like students to see what they look like compared with the rest of the world. It always leads to some interesting discussions.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Library of Economics and Liberty

Above is pictured David Ricardo, the man who made famous the idea of comparative and absolute advantage. His picture is the one that is used for the Library of Economics and Liberty. This website offers a ton of resources. In addition, whenever I am struggling with concept, am sick of lecturing, or want an article for students to read about a topic, I find it here.

Also, the have come up with a list of 51 topics every high school student should know. Though in my CP class I do not get through all of this, it is a great starting point.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Bellringer FED Game

One of the issues I run into with both my AP and CP classes, is the power of the Federal Reserve and what the role of the FOMC. I show them the clip below from the movie, "Catch Me if You Can." It explains one of the roles of the Federal Reserve. It works as a fun introduction. The game found here is a fun, quick way to illustrate both struggles I have. It is fun to watch as they try and control one aspect of the economy and as they see the effects on the other aspects of the economy, their reaction to try and curb what actions they have been taking.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Oregon's New Minimum Wage

In my CP class, we are discussing supply and demand. I start with the Crash Course video on the subject. As part of the unit, we talk about price controls. The one the students find most interesting is that of minimum wage.

There are many pros and cons on the subject and I want students to have access to both. Here is a con article to the rise and here is a pro on the increase. We talk about the arguments to both.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Freakonomics PodCast

I am always looking for ways to make economics more interesting. Though the search is never a difficult one, I also like challenging the students to think as well. Hence, we do a bunch with Freakonomics in my class. We read the book Think Like a Freak and watch part of the Freakonomics documentary. As part of my classes I have them listen to Freakonomics Radio, and do a write-up. I pick what podcast they must listen to and we talk about it in class. Most of the time the subject in the podcast has something to do with what we are learning. I have left an example of an assignment below.

Each week you will be asked to listen to a Podcast from Freakonomics Radio. In week four we will look at the old saying, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend." Are they? Boys do you know how much you are supposed to spend on an engagement ring? 
Please write a 500 word response. What did you like? What did you agree/disagree with? What did you find interesting? What do you still have questions about?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Situation in Venezuela

There are many economic lessons to be learned from the situation in Venezuela. The country is in a very sad state. With that said, I am starting my supply and demand unit with my CP class. This video and the article are great bell ringers and can be used for a whole host of economic lessons. From the FOREX market to inflation, to price controls, and a general discussion on the fact that even if a country is flush with natural resources if the price drops or there are no means by which to foster that resource, it can make the country worse off.

Friday, February 26, 2016

World's Largest Economies

CNN Money has a great graph out about the world's largest economies. In addition, you can go back a few years and move forward in time and see projections. This will be a great bell ringer in my AP Macroeconomics class as well as in my CP economics class when we get to that unit. I want students to make predictions on who will remain in which spots, and who might raise or fall and why.

I think it is interesting that Canada is projected to fall out of the top ten by 2020. With NAFTA and the oil sands, I do not see how, but it might be a great conservation to have.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Using the Rolling Stones

On the first day of class, as part of my introduction, I tell my students they are in for more than just an economics class. Within the class, I give dating advice, which I will post about later, better use of study time, and a new appreciation of music. I tell them, jokingly, that most of their parents have failed them and that I will help them in that area. As part of each of my test or daily quiz, I play a "Eagles Radio" Pandora station, in which if they can identify who the artist is and who sings the song, they get a bonus point. They look forward it and it has become a distinctive of my class. 

On one of the first days of class, we list to the Rolling Stones song, "You can't always get what you want" and talk about scarcity and the differences between needs and wants, which the come to see as not being different at all. We also talk about unlimited wants and the need to choose. Even though most of my students do not listen to this type of music, they seem to really like it when we listen to it as a class.

Live version of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM_p1Az05Jo

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wolfs and Economics

I got this idea from the AP economics teacher Facebook page. If you are not a member, I would strongly suggest it. It is a great resource to ask questions, bounce ideas, and be in a community with fellow economics teachers. Antony Davis, who has done a number of videos for the Learn Liberty Series, and is a good friend of mine, posted this video. 

His position is this: 
An ecosystem is actually an economy where predators are consumers, prey are producers, and genetic mutation and behavioral adaptation are entrepreneurs. 

This a fun way to show economic ideas through nature, or even dispute Adam Smith's statement in, "The Wealth of Nations." that, “It is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know neither this nor any other species of contracts.” WON Book 1 Chapter2.

Either way, a fun bell ringer.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FreedomTrust High School Program

This is a great program put on by two friends of mine, James Harrigan, PhD and Antony Davis, PhD. The FreedomTrust high school program is designed to give honors-level high school students a taste of college-level economics and philosophy. The program, designed for between 30 and 100 students, is comprised of four one-hour sections of lectures, economic experiments, and discussion.

Each of these segments, including time for Q&A, is roughly one hour long. We conclude the program with an open Q&A session.

These gentlemen will travel to your school and put on anywhere from a full day to multiple day seminars. They are wonderful and it has been memorable days for my students. Maybe this is something to consider if you have your students after the AP tests.

Contact James Harrigan if you are interested: james.harrigan@freedom-trust.org