Macroeconomics sets out to look at the entire economy as a whole,
not just the pieces. The big-ticket items like inflation, recession,
unemployment, economic growth and gross domestic product (GDP) are
the subjects of macroeconomics. This workshop introduces students
to the basic measurement tools of any economy.
Brett Hardin, in his
class at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Georgia, uses an imaginary
newspaper, The EconoPost, to demonstrate to his students the effect
that dramatic changes in an economy can have.
class at Lake Mary High School in Orlando, Florida, learns the components
of GDP to see how economists arrive at several definitions of economic
Brett Hardin's class
discovers that there are actually several different types of unemployment
and that employment statistics often do not capture the true unemployment
picture. Later in the workshop the class explores the impact of
inflation on certain types of employees and businesses.
Eliot Scher's class at
White Plains High School in New York examines the effects of inflation,
while Ted Hartsoe's students
at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, develop a teenage
price index to learn how inflation is measured.
"With macroeconomics it's
trying to help the kids understand the terms. That's
the first thing. So when they hear GDP has dropped 2%
or they hear that unemployment is 4.9%, what does that
actually mean? And I want macroeconomics to connect
with stuff they've already learned So we started with,
what are some things you've learned about what happened
in Germany and the U.S. in the twenties and thirties?
And they know that social and political stuff, especially
those events. And then use that as a bridge to start
to say, 'well, what did it mean?' What would it mean
if they heard in the news that GDP was going down? What
does it mean if people are unemployed? Do people choose
unemployment or how does it happen?
So with each of those things
I wanted them to be able to sort out exactly what those
terms meant and then the final step in each of those
lessons was some kind of way where they actually played
around with it. So they start to understand the concepts
a little more deeply."