Steve Page teaches 12th-grade economics at Vivian Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida. Located in a suburban, upper middle class community on the outskirts of Tampa, Vivian Gaither is a large high school with about 2,800 students. Most students drive themselves to school, have their own bank accounts, and work part-time jobs after school or on weekends. The school is approximately 90 percent Caucasian, with a small minority population. Most students at Vivian Gaither graduate and continue on to college. Economics is a graduation requirement.
Mr. Page began the year with an introduction to basic economic principles, followed by a unit on scarcity of resources in different world regions and economies. From scarcity of resources, the course segued into units on supply and demand, micro- and macroeconomics, international economics, and personal finance. Throughout the year, Mr. Page emphasized the importance of civic duty, encouraging students to become active members of their community.
Overall, Mr. Page taught his students the economic, political, and societal bases of the free enterprise system. Specifically, by the final exam, he expected them to grasp certain knowledge and skills they can use in the real world. Key content included understanding the role of economics in history, such as contributions of major theorists Adam Smith and Karl Marx; and the relationship among shortage, equilibrium, and surplus. Key skills included interpreting economic models, such as the circular flow model; and graphing supply and demand curves.
For the final exam review, Mr. Page posed dilemmas that would engage students' interest; increase their retention; and promote their speech, debate, and critical-thinking skills. Through group work and discussion as well as individual research, students applied abstract concepts to realistic dilemmas.
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