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The Economics Classroom
About the Workshops

Workshop Descriptions

1. How Economists Think
2. Why Markets Work
3. The Government's Hand
4. Learning, Earning, Saving
5. Trading Globally
6. The Building Blocks of Macroeconomics
7. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
8. Growth and Entrepreneurship

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Workshop Six: The Building Blocks of Macroeconomics

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MAJOR CONCEPTS

macroeconomic forces
understanding GDP
unemployment
inflation


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.

Anna Vanlandingham's class at Lake Mary High School in Orlando, Florida, learns the components of GDP to see how economists arrive at several definitions of economic growth.

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.

Brett Hardin
Brett Hardin

Teachers' Thoughts
"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."




 

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