Inspired by Weblogg-ed’s recent post, I decided to postpone my next unit and spend some time working with students to do some research on the current national and global economic situation. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make it both relevant and interesting to students, and decided to implement some of the strategies described in the book our staff is reading – Ted McCain’s Teaching for Tomorrow: Teaching Content and Problem-Solving Skills.
What I’ve settled on is based on the role-playing and real-world assignments described in the book. This particular assignment asks students to help solve a specific, real-world problem: Using this document – Email from a State Representative – I am going to present students with a request to help a congressman decide how to vote on the bailout package.
We’re going to work our way through the 4 D’s of problem solving – define, design, do, and debrief – to help us find potential solutions to the economic crisis facing our country. In order to complete the assignment, students will probably have to learn about basic economics, credit, mortgages, the stock market, budgeting, and some basic political processes (i.e. how a bill gets made into law – can you say “Schoolhouse Rock”?). In the process, we’ll work on developing good research skills, research writing, and opinion writing on top of the real-life learning they will be doing.
Anyone else doing something similar? Any resources (videos, books, sites, etc.) you’ve found that help simplify this whole mess?