Jan 12, 2009

From the Classroom volume 1

Hello blog visitors. Michael Melvin here. This is the first installment of the "From the Classroom" portion of the Econ Blog. Each week I will share a little something about what is going on in my classroom. If you like what you see please use it in your classroom. If you have suggestions please leave them in the comments section.

I like to divide up my senior Econ class into the pretty standard units of Intro/Comparative Economics, Micro, Macro, International trade and Personal Finance. I have been doing it this way for several years, but of course, the GPS has put much greater emphasis on personal finance. We all know that things get squeezed at the end of the semester, so I have started using my Budget Project as an introduction to topics that might get overlooked as the semester passes. A budget project is a great way to expose students to ideas like rational decision making, interest, saving and investment options, taxes, insurance (typically not a crowd favorite among econ teachers) and the significance of education to lifetime earnings.

I give out this project at the very beginning of the semester with a due date set about three weeks down the road. Student income is determined by a random drawing of a playing card, which represents a specific college degree or income level.

I understand that a great deal of econ teachers do a similar type of project and I am always borrowing and adapting from colleagues. For instance, I am going to add car maintenance and dentist/doctor visits to next year's budget. Check it out and give it a try if you are not currently using such a project. Your students, and their parents, will thank you.

Email gcemrrx@langate.gsu.edu for a copy of the budget project.