TEACHING ECONOMICS TO KIDS
Rutgers economist creates resource for elementary school teachers
NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. Most states require the teaching of economic concepts in elementary schools, but many teachers are too busy or ill-equipped to include it in their lessons. This school year, they can turn to a new Web site for help.
Created at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, EconKids (http://econkids.rutgers.edu) provides teachers, parents, and volunteers with ideas for introducing economics to children in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
The Web site is based on the idea that economics can be embedded in reading, math, and social studies lessons. For example, Sanji and the Baker, the sites September Book of the Month, can be used as a reading book, but it also teaches about money and producers through the story of a baker who unsuccessfully tries to extract payment from a boy who enjoys smelling the aromas that drift out of his bakery.
Economics can be enjoyable to teach and learn, especially if the process involves childrens literature and hands-on activities, said associate professor Yana Rodgers, who teaches economics in Rutgers womens and gender studies department. Rodgers created the Web site with Michael Esmail, a Rutgers undergraduate. Young students can gain exposure to a wide range of economic concepts if teachers use reading strategies that embrace childrens literature with economic content.
Existing Web sites on economics education are often pitched to a wide range of ages, and can be difficult and time-consuming for teachers to navigate. EconKids focuses on younger students, and its user-friendly design can provide instructors with quick lesson ideas, Rodgers said.
Web site visitors can click on a particular economics concept supply and demand, for example to get a list of the creators top five choices of acclaimed childrens books that use enjoyable stories to teach an economics lesson.
Teachers and parents also can check current and previous picks for Book of the Month when looking for excellent books for reading and social studies lessons.
Book selections are based on current research and direct experience in teaching with them. The books are readily available in school libraries, public libraries, bookstores, and the Internet, and the EconKids Web site has links to all 50 states public library catalogs so that teachers and parents can reserve the books online.
Web site visitors may also download working papers on economics education, obtain links to all the states content standards, and join the network as an EconKids Affiliate.
CONTACT: Patricia Lamiell
(732) 932-7084, Extension 615