Tenth grade students in Humanities and Digital Imaging created a book on economic concepts and their applications. Each student created two pages: the first defining an economic term and providing examples of it, and the second applying the term to a current event in an original article. For each page, the student created a linoleum block print to illustrate the content.
I wanted my students to see the world through the lens of economics. We began with whole-class instruction and shared readings before breaking into literature circles and, eventually, individual research topics. I was pleased with the variety of content that students chose to address: international issues like donations to Haiti and AIDS in Uganda, national concerns like foreclosures and unemployment, and local ones like disputes over local beaches and fear of shark attacks.
Economics is called the Dismal Science, but with Economics Illustrated it was anything but. In this project we balanced writing, social science and art. Beforehand we may have had a basic understanding of economics, but nothing really beyond the clichés of the stock market. We learned about dozens of economic principles, ranging from everyday inflation to more cutting-edge regression analyses. We tried to get each article just perfect; my article on the Theory of Comparative Advantage is probably my most heavily edited piece to date. Some people had difficulties with the linoleum block carving, both in what to carve and how to carve it. In the end, though, we managed to create a stunning book that we can be proud of.
To learn more, visit www.hightechhigh.org and the authors’ digital portfolios at danwise.googlepages.com and jeffrobin.com
To buy the book visit www.blurb.com and search for Economics Illustrated.
To see coverage of the project on The New York Time’s Freakonomics Blog, visit: http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/economics-for-and-by-10th-graders/