After a long and (hopefully) restful winter break, school is back in full swing! I have to say, we are having an amazing start. There have been a few moments that have caused me to stop and marvel at how far these students have come in so many ways. They are growing up right before my eyes!
This week we embarked on our long-awaited economics unit. From the very first day of school, students have been asking, "When do we get to do the thing with the money?" "When does the market start?" Well, here we are!
Before we get to the fun stuff, we have to lay the foundation. This week was all about why we are learning economics. The conceptual lens for this unit is "Choice," so we began with a concept building activity to help us think deeply and broadly about the idea of choice.
I divided the students into 3 groups. Their first task was to choose a secretary. This person would be responsible for writing down the group's ideas during our brainstorm. I then gave the groups 5 minutes to think of as many examples of choices as they could. This task was difficult at first, but became easier as they wrote down each idea. After 5 minutes, we went around the room, each group sharing one example of choice at at time. I recorded their thinking on our concept chart.
Next, I pointed out to them that some of their ideas sort of go together; for example, "governor" and "president" could be put into a category. One student remarked, "Yeah! Like one category could be 'outside' and you could put 'litter,' 'run,' and 'hobbies' in that category!" I then gave the groups another 5 minutes to write down other categories they see and which items would go in those categories. The students quickly realized that items can go into more than one category, and that each group would probably come up with completely different ideas -- we are learning that that's OK!
The final phase of this processing activity was indeed the most challenging. Here is where we really stretched our thinking and synthesized our ideas. After sharing and listing our categories, it was time to come to the rug and put it all together.
The question I asked was this, "What can these categories tell us about choice?" The idea was to create some big idea statements that are true about all different types of choice. I prompted them by giving them sentence starters like "Choices can..." "Choices might..." "Choices can lead to..."
Here is what they came up with!
I was so impressed with their ability to think so abstractly. Though this activity was challenging, everyone was participating, thinking flexibly, and trying their best.
Economics is all about choice. Producers and consumers make choices every day in regards to their money. As we move through this unit, we will continue to reference and add to our choice concept chart, making connections to our own lives, other subjects, and the world around us!
Little people, big minds.