Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Word on the Economy: Why Is the Country Facing a Financial Crisis?

Summary: St. Louis FED VP, Ms. Julie Stackhouse moderates.

If you and your students want a clear explanation of the financial crises, click here. This podcast is for AP Macroeconomics.

The pdf version is also available for download on the site.

As media becomes digitized, do you find your instruction changing? Are you using more videos for instruction and less teacher-directed instruction?







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Push Up Machine for AP Microeconomics

Summary: Kudos on a brilliant lesson plan.

The YouTube video is here. This video shows how many workers to hire assuming diminishing marginal returns.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is also an EconEdLink.org author.

Two-Minute Drill -- Balance of Payments



Summary: Calculating Balance of Payments, Current Account, and Financial Account.



The Acorn Book states that the "Financial Account" will replace the "Capital Account" on this year's exam. This drill is intended to remind students that the Balance of Payments always sums to zero.

My answers are: imports = 1100; financial account balance = 800; BOP = 0 with no statistical discrepancy.

Stress to your students that CA + FA = 0.

Extra Credit: using the spending equation for calculating GDP, can you prove that a current account deficit must mean a financial account surplus?

AP Macroeconomics students seldom have had accounting. I stress that the Balance of Payments is really a system of debits and credits. Exports are a credit (+) and imports are a debit (-) so they offset each other. Likewise, when foreigners buy domestic assets the transaction is a credit (+). Some economists call this a capital inflow. When domestic citizens buy foreign assets including bonds and direct foreign investment, the transaction is a debit (-). This would be a capital outflow.

Some illegal transactions are not captured in the balance of payments and this motivates the need for a statistical discrepancy.

In recent years, the United States has a large current account deficit. Do you think this is a problem?










About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two-Minute Drill -- Perfect Competition



Summary: AP Microeconomics perfect competition.



1. What price would LR Competitive equilibrium be on the graph?
2. At Price P3, what area is profit?
3. What point is resource allocative efficient?
4. Below what price would the firm shut down?
5. The difference between ATC and AVC equals _______?
6. What point is productive efficient for the firm?

1. P1 2. P3ABP2. 3. C 4. P 5. AFC









About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.

Oligopoly Lesson Plan for AP Microeconomics


Summary: Jason Welker's plan. Two-Minute Drill.


An interactive plan for teaching oligopoly behavior is here.


Did you know that "oligopoly" comes from a Greek root meaning "few"? Usually, an oligopoly market is taught with four firms sharing the market or few firms. When teachers teach game theory, these use a duopoly, or two firms.


After reviewing the plan linked above, I have two questions. 1. What is a prisoner's dilemma? Would the game between Starbucks and SF Coffee be a prisoner's dilemma if it looked like the payoff matrix shown in here?










About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.
Monday, December 28, 2009

Two-Minute Drill Real Interest Rates

Summary: Calculate the real interest rate. Interpret the results.

While reading the Wall Street Journal, you note that the interest rates on 1-year Treasuries are 8%. You expect inflation to be 2% over the next year. What is the real interest rate?

The real interest rate equals the nominal interest rate minus the expected rate of inflation. In my example, the real interest rate equals 6% (8% - 2%).

A real interest rate of 6% means that if I forgo $1 in spending today, I'll be able to consume $1.06 in the future. Remember to use the real interest rate, r, on the vertical axis when plotting the Loanable Funds Market.

Extra Credit: Can you show that 1+r = (1 + i) / (1 + e) is roughly equivalent to r = i - e? Assume that i is the nominal interest rate and e is the expected rate of inflation.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is currently working on a model to easily teach the Loanable Funds Market in AP Macroeconomics classes.
Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tip 35 -- Have Passion for AP Economics

Summary: Passion.

"Good teaching is as much about passion as it is about reason. It's about not only motivating students to learn, but teaching them how to learn, and doing so in a manner that is relevant, meaningful, and memorable. It's about caring for your craft, having a passion for it, and conveying that passion to everyone, most importantly to your students." This quote is from Richard Leblanc, York University, Ontario. The site is here.

When you show passion for your subject you send a double message. One message you send is that your content is important. The second message is that the content matters. When students can see that you believe in what you are teaching, they will take your class seriously. Your passion will show in how you continually prepare for class. Your passion will show in the books you read and how you talk.

I am convinced that when a teacher has passion, his students will to.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.

Tip 34 -- Have Students Keep a Journal

Summary: Make students write.

You can enhance learning by requiring student to keep a reading, thinking, and lecture journal. The goal of the journal is to have students make connections among the various isolated concepts and skills that they learn in other classes. You can use it to see if students are reading and reviewing their lecture notes.

If you choose to have your students keep a journal, how do you grade it?

I use a vertical line or an underline to show that the student writing was accurate. I use squiggly lines to show that the writing was shaky. I use an "X" to show that the student writing missed the mark. I also use "+" when a student makes a good point. I feel no need to comment since this isn't a writing class. I don't grade grammar or spelling. Instead, I focus on exploring the economic concepts.

The use of journals requires students to use evaluation, analysis, and synthesis--higher order thinking skills. The use of a journal will enhance the learning experience and allow students to see the relevance in their course work.

Writing is a skill that is hard to automate and outsource so students add value to their human capital that differentiates them from global competition. Last year, I used a blog for students to comment on articles. I found that each student developed an individual online personality.

When you require students to keep a journal, you are helping to make them competitive. Please share your thoughts on the writing processes you have used in your classes.





About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA.

Tip 33 -- Use Instructional Technology

Summary: Tools that flatten the world.

How do you hold AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics students to a high level of accountability that also prepares them for the global economy? Try using Web 2.0 tools.

In the best selling book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman asserts that the Internet makes information accessible to everyone, especially open sourcing. Open sourcing is the ability to upload and collaborate online. An example of open sourcing is Wikipedia. Open sourcing allows communities to divide the manufacturing and the service components apart so that workers can work to their comparative advantage. When I developed my iPod App, Econexamcram, I used Skype as my primary communication. But, when I wanted to show a complicated process, I used a Flip Camcorder and sent the video through Google mail.

Competition for scare resources is now global. How do we teach students how to compete? One solution is to teach them how to use instructional technology. Here is a list: 1. Have students produce a YouTube video. 2. Have students use Photo Story 3 to make and narrate a slide show. 3. Here is a site that claims to have all of the tools. 4. Develop a class Wiki.

If you would like to gain insight into designing your presentation for the 21st Century, please check out Presentation Zen.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School.

Tip 32 -- Making AP Economics Stick

Summary: Made to Stick. Product differentiation.

In the marketing world, there's a saying that goes, "Facts tell. Stories sell." Buyers who are told a story are motivated to buy the product. If you want your students to "buy" your instruction, try telling a story around the concept.

In the best selling book, Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, they outline 6 steps for making an idea stick. Those 6 steps are: 1. Simplicity 2. Unexpectedness 3. Concreteness 4. Credibility 5. Emotions 6. Stories.

These six steps will show you, not tell you, how to teach for effective instruction. After reading this book, I challenge you to pick up any best selling novel and see if these concepts have been applied. You can simply elevate your instruction to the top floor by using these techniques. The best thing I have learned is that students never get bored of the technique.

I believe that the world is becoming competitive at the speed of sound. Thomas Friedman explained this concept in The World is Flat. In this flat world, technology allows global-price factor equalization as more and more content is digitized and resources become mobile. How much substitution do you face for your teaching? At Muscatine High School, students can take Microeconomics or Macroeconomics at the community college and receive college credit. They can also take the same classes online. If I want to compete for students against technology and substitution, I must differentiate myself.

I differentiate my instruction by how I deliver my content. Made to Stick is an excellent source for teacher of AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics to differentiate their instruction.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Tip 31 -- Use Similes in AP Economics

Summary: Spice up content instruction using the writing techniques of similes.

How do you teach so that instruction sticks? Try using "figurative and descriptive" language. One technique I employ are similes. "Similes compare two unlike things using phrases that begin with like or as. Similes help you see pictures in your mind" writes Renee Kirchner. I use similes to make instruction concrete.

If I am talking about how a perfectly competitive market adjusts rapidly to equilibrium in AP Microeconomics, I will end by saying that the market will adjust to equilibrium faster than a Pentium 3 microprocessor. I try to avoid cliches like "faster than a speeding bullet" since students will view my instruction as uncreative. Suppose that I believe that wages are sticky downward in AP Macroeconomics. Then I might say, "Wages adjust slower than the seven-year itch."

I believe that pairing concepts with clever similes allows students to organize and recall the material easier. When students are working on homework, they have pictures to show the speed of adjustment in micro and macro. See if the following simile works for you that I lifted off of a commercial.

Assume that you are talking about interest rate adjustment in the Federal Funds Market. You could say that the Fed Funds Rate adjusts instantly after the Fed adds liquidity, and your students will understand it. Or you could say, "The Fed Funds Rate will adjust to the new equilibrium faster than a scarred Gazelle being chased by a Cheetah on the African plane."

I think students will appreciate you sense of humor, your agile use of language, and your passion to bring economics alive in their classroom. You will find that they can't wait to repeat your simile to a friend. You will find that students can recall more content faster and apply it to more circumstances.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics faster than the furious scribblers of the U. S. Constitution.
Thursday, December 24, 2009

Keynes v. Hayek

Summary: PBS interview with Russ Roberts by Paul Solman. Excellent use of 10 minutes.

AP Macroeconomics teachers will benefit from this video. Sticky wages, government spending, crowding out, and pessimism. HT to Steven Reff.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High.

Nominal and Real Interest Rates for AP Macroeconomics

Summary: Peggy Pride's article.

The article is here.

Teachers and students often have questions about labeling the vertical axis on the liquidity preference and loanable funds graphs. In this article, Ms. Pride answers those questions.

In the loanable funds market, there is always a debate on whether to move the supply or demand curve when the government spends. I believe I have an easy answer that will eliminate all debate and students can easily remember and interpret policy. Look for an EconEdLink lesson and a YouTube video on this subject.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School. Mr. Fladlien believes that asymmetrical information in gift giving results in market failure.

Tip 30 Use HOTS in AP Economics

Summary: Higher Order Thinking Skills.

One of my favorite movies is Jurassic Park where dinosaurs run amok on an island terrorizing the visitors. In one scene a cow is lowered into a caged area where velociraptors are kept. The team of doctors are waiting for the cow to be devoured but noting happens. One of the characters says, "Velociraptor does not want to be fed. Velociraptor wants to hunt."

My AP students don't want to be "fed" memorization and recall questions they want to think.

Presumably, Higher Order Thinking Skills, HOTS, stimulate a higher level of thinking; HOTS are on the top of Bloom's Taxonomy; using HOTS prepares students for the 21st Century. I have dogmatically been told in teacher training to infuse these skills into my classroom in order to prepare students for a global economy. Since HOTS have been around education since 1980, I thought my teacher trainers were simply parroting what they heard. Does a lesson plan that is top heavy with HOTS prepare students for the 21st Century?

In Muscatine, we are fortunate to have an industrial base that has insulated us from recessionary pressures since WWII. For example, HNI is a Fortune 500 business. We also have Bandag, Heinz, MUSCO Lighting, and many more. My students would often graduate and go to work for one of these manufacturing firms. In the last five years, manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the United States and around the world. As factors migrate to low cost countries and automation replaces unskilled labor, the United States has shifted from manufacturing to a service based economy. Many services require a high level of learning characterized by HOTS. Students who have been challenged with HOTS are better able to adapt to disruptive technology and adapt to a rapidly changing job skills. At HNI, they have won Baldridge awards for the RCI--Rapid Continuous Improvement--model. So it seems that even manufacturers require their workforce to use the HOTS.

In my classroom, I find it necessary to have the HOTS questions written out in advance. When I try to ask questions on-the-fly, I almost always ask a rote, memorization or comprehension question.

If you use the HOTS in your classroom, you will prepare your students for the AP Microeconomics, the AP Macroeconomics, and the workforce.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He blos at Mikeroeconomics.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two-Minute Drill -- Real Interest Rates

Summary: Real interest rates.

In January, 1981, the nominal interest rate on 1-year T-bills was 12.6%. The inflation rate in 1981 was 12%.

In January, 1999, the one-year T-bill rate was 4.5% and the inflation rate was 2%.

What was the real interest rate in each year? What year was the return in terms of a basket of goods the highest?

Answers: The real interest rate equals the nominal - expected rate of inflation. The real rate in 1981 was .6%. In 1999, 2.5%. In 1999, an investor would find that after adjusting for inflation, they could purchase a larger basket of goods than in 1981.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Tip 29 Equitable Distribution of Questions

Summary: Interacting with all students. Encouraging diversity enrollment.

Do you ask questions that can be answered? Who do you choose when you ask questions over a topic?

In my class, I put the names of students in a hat. I ask a question then randomly select a name of the hat. (The hat I use if from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank compliments of Tim Schilling.)

After I select a name, I give wait time of five seconds for the student to answer. If the student has problems answering the question, I prompt.

I have found that I have a tendency to ask questions to students that I know will answer correctly. Asking questions in this manner communicates my expectations to the other students. The effect of asking questions in this manner is that only a few become involved in the class. But if I ask questions to random students, they all are accountable for the content.

Another benefit I have learned from asking random students questions is that I ask the high achieving students and the low achieving students the same question. I don't ask those students struggling with the content, "easy" questions. Again, I don't communicate my perception of a student by the type of question I ask.

If you have equity concerns, you will find that providing equal opportunity to contribute to the class will encourage minority students to take your AP Microeconomics or AP Macroeconomics classes.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Tip 28 Choose a Textbook

Summary: Choose a textbook you love. Brief Reviews of textbooks for AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics. A plug for using print media in the classroom.

When you adopt a textbook, you adopt the author's philosophy. The first text I used was Roger Arnold's Economics by Southwestern-Thomson Learning. I adopted this book because I had used it at the community college to brush up on my economics skills and the book made connections between seemingly unrelated topics using economic thinking. For example, some of the topic in the Arnold text were "How May Crime, Outsourcing, and Multitasking Be Related?" and "Does Your College or University Price Discriminate?"

The next textbook I adopted was Krugman-Wells Economics. I was overjoyed with the amount of rigorous work this text provided. At the time I felt that the text would provide me with enough materials to differentiate and individualize instruction.

The Mankiw text is a book I seriously considered. I feel that Greg is one of the top economists in world. I have seen Mr. Mankiw on Fox News, read his blog, and like his writing delivery. When I really want to understand a macro concept, I reference his intermediate text. On several occasions I have asked Mr. Mankiw questions, and he has answered them.

I often wonder if textbooks are perfect substitutes. One thing is for certain, textbook are strategically interdependent. All come with workbooks, website with PowerPoints, videos, and test questions to name a few.

Are textbooks a complement to instruction? I think any textbook can be adapted effectively in your classroom. Choose a textbook you love.

The College Board has a review of textbooks here.

Do you think that online textbooks and digitized media are a substitute for textbooks? Is all information for a principles of economics class online? Can a student use Google, Reffonomics.com, YouTube, and amosWEB to find all of the answers to their questions without reading a textbook?

I have found that many of my AP Microeconomics students this year would prefer to have the two-minute version of a concept. But when they use the computer to learn the concept, they lose the kind of deep thinking needed for the AP test. As long as the AP test demands higher order thinking skills, you will need a textbook to prepare students for the exam.

Your comments are welcome.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics. Mr. Fladlien believes that the climate is changing in the classroom and in weather patterns.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tip 27 Practice Graphing AP Microeconomic Concepts

Summary: Graphing on wipe boards aids in skill acquisition.

You will find that students will like to graph on their own miniature white board. They like to erase quickly so no one sees their errors, and they like the large graphs that allow for creativity in their work.

I went to Menards, and bought 4' X 8' sheets of paneling. Then I asked the industrial tech department to cut them into 2 x 2 sheets. I found cheap dry erase markers at Walgreens and used Kleenex tissues for erasers. Students like to graph the concepts and receive immediate knowledge of results. They also like the different color markers that I give them. I have found this to be an effective alternative to taking notes.

I store the white boards in my classroom on an overhead stand that I can easily roll around the room if I need to. I think students like the fact that I worked extra to help them to learn so they respond by working harder on graphing.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics.

Tip 26 for Teaching AP Economics.

Summary: Use active learning.

Find activities that don't involve rote memorization. Students will find the class more interesting if they are involved in stimulating activities. Some of my favorite activities are:

1. The M-Factory. In this activities students make the "M" for letter jackets to be used at Muscatine High School. The purpose is to show diminishing marginal returns. From this activity we calculate marginal product, average product, and graph the production function.

2. To show diminishing marginal utility I make students eat marsh mellows until they want to quit. This activity shows that more and more gives less and less utility.

3. To show that an increase in the money supply will increase prices, I throw play money in the room at random students. Then I offer candy for sale. Then, I double the money supply and offer the candy for sale again. This activity, combined with the equation of exchange, MV = PQ, shows that inflation is a monetary phenomena.

Many more activities can be found in Capstone student activities workbook.

After completing an activity, I find that students often mistake activity for achievement. You must debrief the students and make connections for them on the finer points. Have the students write a summary or complete textbook problems to reinforce the concepts from the activities.

Activities don't have to take the entire class period. Activities often stimulate further learning as students have an experience they can relate to.

What are your favorite activities?







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics.

Christmas Test for AP Economics

Summary: Economics test for the holidays.


The test is here. Here's a sample question.

1. Assess the view that reindeer flying fast over urban areas generate considerable negative externalities and evaluate one method to reduce the external cost created.

This test courtesy of pajholden blogging at economics with pajholden.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Monday, December 21, 2009

Teaching AP Economics Tip 25

Summary: Find an institute or workshop.

The College Board has summer institutes and workshops to enhance teacher training. Click here to find the workshop closest to you.

I have attended a workshop at Triton College in Illinois that was excellent. I have also attended a micro/macro workshop at the University of Wisconsin Madison that changed the way I taught. The macro was taught my Wayne McCafferty. I also attended a week long institute at the University of Iowa with Amy Shrout. These workshops all enriched my teaching and my life.

When I attended these institutes I left for home with tons of materials. What I gained most was the enthusiasm from dedicated and energetic teachers who loved what they were doing. From these teachers, I learned how to teach.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author. Currently, Mr. Fladlien is searching for a way to teach real interest rates quickly.

Teaching Tips for AP Economics

Summary: More tips to teach AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics/

20. Here is a Squiddo Lens for first time teachers.

21. Buy the Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition. The WSJ was $19.50 for 30 copies of the student edition for the whole year.

22. Make a Wiki. A Wiki is an editable blog in which students can add content. A Wiki allows students to interact with data and use Web 2.0 tools. This link tells you how to begin a Wiki. Here's how to use a Wiki in your classroom. The Wikipedia is here.

If you are a rigor-relevance disciple, then a Wiki allows students to collaborate online. If you are a 7 Habits of Highly Effective People follower, then a Wiki allows you to synergize.

23. Present at a conference. The best way to learn is to teach. Every year the College Board calls for presenters at their national AP Conference. The 2010 conference is in Washington, D. C. You will find that nothing prepares you more than teaching teachers. As you know, there's a difference between understanding what you read in a book and making real-world connections in real-time when students begin to ask you, "what if..." questions that make you evaluate information. Just performing the research for my presentations have enabled me to make a network or helpful professionals and resources that I will use for a life time.

24. Become an EconEdLink author. This is a rigorous process that will solidify your teaching presentation, knowledge, and pedagogy. Your lessons are critically reviewed by professionals who enrich the content of your plans. If you strive for excellence, develop one lesson and contribute it. The link to begin is here. Here's a warning. Once you write a plan, you will want to write more. You will find that the quality of your presentations skyrocket and your knowledge will deepen. There are over 620 plans as of this writing, but there are room for hundreds of others. All of the plans are here and they are FREE.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics. His iPod app, Econexamcram, helps students prepare for final exams in microeconomics.
Sunday, December 20, 2009

Teaching Tips for AP Economics

Summary: More tips for enhancing student achievement.

On a previous blog, I listed 10 tips from the College Board and four of mine. I continue the list.

15. Read blogs from other AP Economics teachers. Here is a sample of the blogs I read through an RSS feed. MV=PQ, David Mayer, Jason Welker's Blog, Greg Mankiw's Blog, Marginal Revolution, and Gene Hayward.

On these blogs you will find lots of resources. For example, on Jason Welker's blog there are study guides that you can download so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Also, during crunch times, you can extract PowerPoint lectures and assignments. On David Mayer's blog there are numerous how-to videos. On Tim Schilling's blog, MV=PQ, you will find thousands of links to poignant topics in economics.

16. Start a blog. You can use Blogger or Word Press. Another ancillary advantage of writing a blog is that you can pair with Amazon and make commission when readers buy blogs linked to your blog. Many teachers I know say that they don't have time to blog. But, blogging helps you to think efficiently and actually improve the speed at which you teach difficult concepts. I post my lectures to my blog and Facebook for students who want to review or who were absent. Blogging also gives your teaching a sense of authority and purpose.

17. Have study groups. Every Wednesday night, I meet my students from 6 pm until 7:30 pm to teach, reteach, and help them complete assignments. It's been during this time that many of my students have extended their learning by exploring topics of interest to them. If you are a rigor and relevance disciple, then this is exactly the kind of real world application mandated by the Quadrant D lessons. In my study group, Jing Hao once wrote a paper on dual labor markets that gained her entrance to Simpson College. It was during a study group that Rick Stammer agrued vehemently about how a tax would affect the marginal cost curve of a perfect competitor. Rick is now teaching principles of economics at Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa.

18. Use the College Board list serve for AP Microeconomics of AP Macroeconomics. David Anderson moderates the best exchange of ideas and pedagogy on the web. If you have not registered for the electronic discussion group, click here. The Council for Economic Education has a discussion board moderated by Kevin Smith here. You'll have to register first then you will receive updates as they are posted. These discussion boards are a great way to connect with other professionals. I have used the EDG for the College Board to have my questions answered.

19. Be like Ben Zander. Ben says to be a contributor. Find a way to add value to the class. Students often say they like the way I lecture because it's entertaining and instructive. They like my original explanations of topics. For example, when discussing the production possibilities curve, I show them an example of how an iPod can store 100 songs. If 50 of the songs are rap and 50 are classical cello, then if I want to add one more classical song, I will have to give up 1 rap. My examples are often rehashed from other bloggers like Tim Harford, the Undercover Economist.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author. Visit him at www.mikeroeconomics.blogspot.com

Production Possibilities Review for AP Economics

Summary: A guide to aid review of PPF or PPC.

A guide with two-minute drill questions over production possibilities curve is here.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics. In his book, Steven Levitt makes the case that microeconomists have a more interesting career than macroeconomists.
Saturday, December 19, 2009

Teaching Tips for AP Economics

Summary: Jim Spellicy on College Board.

Jim Spellicy teaches AP Economics at Lowell High School in San Francisco, California, and serves as an AP Reader and Table Leader. His tips for teaching AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics are here.

Mr. Spellicy has over a decade of teaching experience in AP economics.

To his list, I would like to add:

11. Teaching economics is a learning process. Sometimes a student needs the whole semester to see how the concepts fit together. It is my practice to allow students the opportunity to grow over the course to demonstrate learning.

12. Give constant feedback and knowledge of results to learners. I emphasize how to use the models and interpret the models to teach the concepts. Often I have to teach the same concepts several times to a student while they are working on a homework problem. I use the analogy that I did not learn to parallel park the first time I tried. Many concepts in economics such as diminishing marginal returns take several attempts.

13. Recruit students who you work well with. This adds comfort to your classroom and a climate of mutual respect. Students produce good results when they feel good.

14. Allow students to disagree with you. When students argue with you they have the incentive to pursue the course content to a higher degree.

What teaching tips do you offer?







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author. He believes in making marginal gains every day to pursue excellence.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Least Cost and profit maximization for AP Microeconomics

Summary: Equating the ratio of MPL and MPK to find least cost combination of resources. Equating ration of MRPL/Pl to MRPK/PK to 1.


About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Federal Reserve Education for AP Economics

Summary: Flash animation multiple choice questions.

Click here. HT to Tim Schilling.

About everything you need to know about the FED is on this site.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.

Crossword for AP Microeconomics

Summary: Be like Ben Bernanke and do a crossword puzzle.

The puzzle is here. TIME's man of the year is our Federal Reserve Bank Chairman who loves to work crosswords for relaxation.

This puzzle can be completed online with clues given on request. This is a great time waster if you need a breather before break.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics. Super Freakonomics is highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two-Minute Drill--Taxes

Summary: Drill over taxes.

As a warm up, have your students answer the following questions on a tax to correct a negative externality. My answers are: $320; $6; $50; $90; $150; 1.769.

If the demand curve were steeper, then the effect on quantity demanded would have been less. Students also have problems determining who bears the burden of the tax. In this case the buyer and seller bear the burden equally. The consumer pays $3 more for the good and the producer keeps $3 less.

In AP Microeconomics, the tax is placed on the producer.





About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

National Financial Literacy contest

"WASHINGTON – Embarking on a new partnership between the agencies, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan met today with students, educators and community leaders to promote strengthened financial capability among the nation's youth. They outlined the first step in this effort, the National Financial Capability Challenge, a national award program that aims to encourage financial education in schools across the country and recognize high-performing teachers, students, and schools.
Beginning today, teachers, schools, school districts, home-school parents, and youth groups can register online to participate. Starting in early 2010, a teacher tool kit developed by outside experts will be provided to all registered teachers to help them integrate financial topics into their curricula. Educators are encouraged to use these tools and to adopt their own innovative approaches to helping students increase their financial capability. The Challenge exam will be offered from March 15-April 2, 2010. All U.S. high-school aged students are encouraged to take part, and students from every participating school will have an opportunity to win awards.
For more information about the National Financial Capability Challenge, go here.

For more information about the FINRA Financial Capability Study, go here.









About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging atMikeroeconomics.

Teaching 21st Century Skills in AP Macroeconomics


Summary: Jason Welker's lesson plan for visualizing economic growth using Web 2.0 tools. 21st Century skills.


How do you teach in the 21st Century?

The slide, 21st Century Learning, was presented at the last in-service at Muscatine High School by Diane Campbell, Assistant Principal of the Year in Iowa.

In Jason Welker's lesson, Visualizing economic growth, I counted 10 of the skills listed on the right side of the PowerPoint slide. In addition, Mr. Welker included the use of Photo Story 3 for teaching the technology component. In this lesson, students are asked to visualize "How does economic development differ from economic growth?"

This lesson is an excellent example of teaching shifting the learning process to a learner-centered environment.

If you like this plan, there are more on his blog.









About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics.
Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Many Workers to Hire for AP Microeconomics

Summary: Calculate number of workers for a firm in the perfectly competitive resource market.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also blogs at Mikeroeconomics. He is currently reading Super Freakonomics and What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell.
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Two-Minute Drill Total Revenue and Cost Curves




Summary: Total revenue and total cost questions for review.






















All answers are "true".

Students often do not understand why marginal revenue equals marginal cost maximizes profit. This graph shows that the distance between total revenue and total cost is the greatest so profit is the greatest. At point Q1, the slopes of both the TR and TC curves are equal so MR = MC.

The TC curve intersects the Y-axis at a point higher than zero. The firm has both fixed and variable costs.

As more workers are hired, workers become specialized and fixed costs are spread out over a larger amount of output. As a result, the TC curve becomes flatter.


About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA.

Solow Growth Model in AP Economics

Summary: Teaching teachers to teach. Solow Growth Model.





Can the Solow Growth Model be applied to education?

Let's assume that the production function takes the form Y = F(K,L,H) where H is the ratio of skilled labor to unskilled labor. If this ratio is "1" then the economy approaches the steady-state shown in this graphic.

If society invests in more education, then both the investment and income curves will shift up and society will reach a higher steady state.

Both investment and income curves will shift up if more capital, (computers?) are given to each worker or student.

Just throwing computers at workers won't increase productivity. Workers must be taught. To paraphrase one economist, "When workers are given new technology, they use it in old ways." I think investment in best teaching practices with the best teachers will lead to continued growth. In other words, we should teach teachers to teach.

This is the goal of the Council for Economic Education. The goal is to give teachers the tools and the training to become effective in their classrooms.




About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author.
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sale on Economics Materials

Summary: 50% off. Grab deals.




Everything on the Council for Economic Education website is on sale at 50%. One exclusion applies (Thinking Economics.) The sale runs one more week.

At the national convention in October, there were publications on such relevant topics as globalization. Economics predicts that as the price falls, consumers buy more. Prove the law of demand correct and navigate to the CEE store.





About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

A Faster Approach to Finding the Gini Coefficient

Summary: A faster way to find the Gini Coefficient



About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.

Winners and Losers From Falling Dollar

Summary:




New York Times article. A score card.

What happens when the USD depreciates? Find out who wins and who loses here.

A salute goes to Kathleen Jensen for the tip.

This graph can be used in AP Macroeconomics when discussing aggregate demand and international trade.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. Iowa is buried under winter weather.
Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to Graph the Lorenz Curve in AP Microeconomics

Summary:



Graphing the Lorenz Curve. Calculating the Gini Coefficient.



The College Board lists that the Lorenz Curve should be taught in AP Microeconomics. This PowerPoint video uses simple data to show how to plot the Lorenz Curve and estimate the Gini Coefficient.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Saturday, December 5, 2009

Excess Capacity in AP Microeconomics

Summary: Monopolistic competitors operate at an X-inefficient point on their ATC.



A restaurant seldom is packed to capacity. A hallmark characteristic of a firm in a monopolistically competitive market is excess capacity. Pizza Ranch, for example, might have several seats a table empty. A profit maximizing firm in the mono comp industry would be operating at a point on their ATC higher than a perfect competitor. This video gives a brief description of a mono comp firm with excess capacity. This blog is intended for AP Microeconomics.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.

Teaching Creativity in AP Macroeconomics

Summary: Technology is changing what me must teach. Teaching creativity for the 21st Century

Abraham Maslow postulated that human behavior can be modeled by a pyramid. In his model, basic needs are fulfilled first then more aesthetic needs such as acceptance are pursued. When a person reaches the top of this pyramid, the person is self-actualizing. As environmental dynamics change, a person moves up and down the pyramid seeking first to satisfy basic needs then higher wants such as love.

What happens when basic need satisfaction has little or no marginal cost of consumption? In other words, how do humans behave when there is an abundance of food, clothing, and shelter?

In Dan H. Pink's book, A Whole New Mind, Mr. Pink opines (I'm summarizing) that consumers will want value added to their life's in the form of "high touch" or greater artistic expression.

For example, Wal-Mart shoppers no longer want cheap clothing, but designer clothing. Automobiles are not only reliable, but safer and more stylish. I examined my own purchase of an iPod Touch and concluded that I bought the iPod for more reasons than the music I could listen to while working out. I bought the Touch because it was cool. It is for this reason that a "master of fine arts is now one of the hottest credentials in the world." (Pink, page 34.)

Technology has driven the cost of production to its marginal cost. Everything in an iPod is made in competitive markets according to the chief economist at Google, Hal Varian. Everything except the concepts or ideas about design and delivery of digitized products like music and movies. The concepts are made in the USA.

In a society where products are driven down to their marginal cost, only firms that can differentiate their products will retain profits in the long run. Firms wishing to remain competitive must constantly strive to innovate and add artistic value to their products or else find that the price of their product is being competed away in both domestic and foreign markets.

A goal for US schools, then is to teach creativity so our students will be able to compete in a global economy. Educational reformer, Willard Daggett, has stressed that learning should have rigor and relevance to the learner so as to develop skills such as creativity. There is no doubt in my mind that creativity is a 21st Century skill. How do we begin to teach creativity in AP Macroeconomics?

Perhaps, you will find, A Whack on the Side of the Head, a springboard in your life to being more creative. I found Thinkertoys to be brilliant. In this outstanding TED Talk, you will learn how play sparks creativity.

In the best-selling book, The World is Flat, author Thomas Friedman, makes the point that technology has changed the landscape of the world. As educators, we must prepare our students for the work place with skills that can not be digitized and competed away. Creativity is one of those skills.

I look forward to your comments.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. In 2008, Mr. Fladlien was a finalist for ISEA Teacher of the Year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Two-Minute Drill--Mono Comp

Summary: A worksheet to drill your students on long run mono-comp equilibrium.

The link is here.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author bloggin at Mikeroeconomics.
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two-Minute Drill--Natural Monopoly


Natural Monoply Worksheet -

A natural monopoly is characterized by a broad sweeping ATC curve that reflexs high fixed costs and relatively small variable costs. In this diagram, the monopoly would charge a higher price and produce less if it were unregulated. A socially optimal price would require a subsidy but would satisfy the greatest amounts of wants especially during peak times. Regulating the monopoly at its breakeven point, might lead to wasteful spending. Clearly, regulating the monopoly at the P = MC prince is socially optimal.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Saturday, November 28, 2009

Two-Minute Drill--Pure Monopoly


Monopoly Worksheet -

What do your students do when you take attendance? Why not give them a review problem that reinforces content and also prepares them for the AP? This Two-Minute Drill is intended to be projected to a white board with the students able to self-check their work.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.
Friday, November 27, 2009

Financial Sector Test--Reffonomics


Financial Sector Part 4 -

A hearty thanks to the creators of this exam, Steven Reff and Dick Brunelle. Please visit their site.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Financial Sector Test--Reffonomics


Financial Sector Part III -
About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rigor-Relevance in AP Economics

Summary: Quadrant D and AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics.

How has globalization affected the way we communicate, work, and learn? Many education reformers have advanced the Rigor-Relevance Model in which Quadrant D activities relate learning to Bloom's Taxonomy, cross-curriculum, and unexpected events.

At Muscatine High School, learning the Rigor-Relevance Model has taken center stage as teaching for the 21st Century. The framework is here.

Our district has begun to include in teacher evaluations rhetoric from this model. Our district administrators want to see more "hands-on" activities used in the classroom. According to our superintendent, Mr. William Decker, 40% of classroom time is spent "coloring, watching videos, and working on worksheets."

Teaching AP Economics is a Quadrant C activity in my opinion. My evaluation for teaching this class is the pass rate of my students. My district wants me to move to Quadrant D developing lesson plans that take days to implement to make instruction relevant.

Let me be clear: I believe that the Rigor-Relevance Model is a model that describes learning and I have worked to include in my AP Economics lessons. For example, I recently showed diminishing marginal returns by using David Anderson's Links lesson plan. I also plan to use the Labels lesson plan to show the direction of trade in macroeconomics. My problem is one of benefit and cost. Should I take a week to show the Phillips Curve in AP Macroeconomics when there might be two multiple-choice questions on the AP exam?

In future blogs, I want to include Quadrant D lesson plans for other AP Economics teachers to use if their district adopts the Rigor-Relevance Model.

Iowa has adopted the Rigor-Relevance Model in their Iowa Core Curriculum. The Iowa Core includes financial literacy and technology.

Comments are welcome.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author.

Financial Sector Test--Reffonomics

Summary:






Financial Test 11-20 -


About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.
Sunday, November 22, 2009

Financial Sector Test

Summary:






Reffonomics Financial Sector Test -

A sincere thanks to the authors, Dick Brunelle and Steve Reff at Reffonomics. These are the answers as I see them for the first 10 questions. The next 10 will be posted on Wednesday.
About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and also publishes the Mikeroeconomics and iMacroeconomics VB blogs.

Financial Sector Test--Reffonomics

Summary: My answer to the first 10 questions of the Financial Test.




Steven Reff and Dick Brunelle have written an outstanding review for AP Macroeconomics on the financial sectore. The test is here. My answers to the first 10 questions are here.

A huge thank you is extended to these gentlemen for their sedulous work in making economics accessible to our students.

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

See the Invisible Hand

Summary: A blog dedicated to instructors who use Modern Principles of Economics by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok.

A recent post on the blog read, "Only in economics is a ceiling above a floor." The writers of Marginal Revolution have a gift for teaching economics. See The Invisible Hand is meant to help instructors teaching principles of economics.

This is truly a fresh approach to teaching economics. This is the only introductory book that teaches the Solow Growth Model and Dynamic AD/AS equilibrium. The problems are challenging and fun.

See your Worth representative for an exam copy. You can preview a chapter here.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Watch Unemployment Grow

Summary: A graphic for AP Macroeconomics to show the growth of unemployment.

Click here. HT to Marginal Revolution.





About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

EconEdLink--Focus on Unemployment Data

Summary: A lesson for using unemployment statistics in AP Macroeconomics.

A lesson plan for integrating unemployment data in the AP Macroeconomics classroom is here.

EconEdLink lessons are a premier source of classroom tested, Internet-based economic lesson materials for K-12 teachers and their students. The lesson plans go through a brutal review process that ensures accuate economic content.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Exam Questions of the Week

Summary: Jason Welker's AP and IB exam questions of the week to prepare students for critical thinking.

IB Question of the week: Unit 4 – International Economics

Explain why a country’s large current account deficit puts downward pressure on its exchange rate and and why this may be inflationary for the country.

AP Question of the week: Unit 2.2 – Elasticities

Assume that hamburgers and french fries are complementary goods. The government decides to begin taxing the production of beef, an input in the production of hamburgers.

For each of the following markets, draw a supply and demand diagram showing the effect of a tax on beef producers. The beef market. The hamburger market. The French fry market. Assume that the demand for hamburgers inelastic in the short-run. How will the tax on beef affect the revenues of hamburger producers?

In the long-run demand for hamburgers is elastic. Explain why this may be.

These questions are from Jason Welker's Blog. Visit and become a Diigo member to share your questions and research. I believe that writing leads to learning.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Per Unit Tax for AP Microeconomics

Summary: A per-unit tax is a variable cost that shifts the marginal cost to the left.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Fed Chairman Game

Summary: A game to help your students review monetary policy.

HT to David Mayer for this game.

Students will learn faster and recall information quicker if immediate knowledge or results are used to reinforce learning. With this game, students see the results of their decisions and can make relations among monetary policy, price level, and employment.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.

FRED Widget

Summary: A free widget from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank allows you to see default FRED graphs on your blog or home page.

This is a must have Google widget for AP Macroeconomics teachers. I installed the widget in less than 30 seconds on my iGoogle home page. Now I can get updates every time I use my computer to check my Gmail. This widget is here. You will thank me later.

Using the FRED data base will confirm the economic theory you teach. If you are an instructor who is using the rigor/relevance model, this is Quadrant D work. The FRED is real life and unexpected. The FRED is cross curriculum. Using the FRED requires analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

If you are interested in how I used the FRED to derive the natural rate of unemployment, I will send you a PowerPoint and an email attachment with the step-by-step instructions. I also have a YouTube video here. I encourage you to make and share a FRED lesson for the insight you will gain about economics.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics. He also likes the FRED data base.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Financial Sector Questions for AP Macroeconomics

Summary: Dick Brunelle has written 40 questions on the financial sector for AP Macroeconomics teachers.

The questions are here.

The questions are professionally written and reflect accurately what is taught in AP Macroeconomic textbooks. My answers will appear shortly. I welcome other reviews.

Macroeconomics requires equilibrium in the goods market, the labor market, and the financial markets. Introductory textbooks use AD/AS to show equilibrium in all of these markets. These questions tie together all of the markets to make equilibrium in the AD/AS model clear.

If you are looking for a source of interactive AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics preparation, try going to Mr. Brunelle's website.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. Currently, Mr. Fladlien is exploring flash animation to teach graphing economic concepts.
Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quick Macroeconomic Statistics

Summary: AmosWEB aggregates statistics for easy reference.

AmosWEB means Economics with a Touch of Whimsy! This quote from The State of The Economy page. Here you will find all of the statistics to confirm theory or build a discussion.
The site also contains a glossary and a dictionary of economic terms that I find outstanding. Often, Flash animation is used to illustrate the economic concepts.






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5E Educator for AP Macroeconomics

Summary: The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond provides free lesson plans for teachers of AP Economics.

"This electronic newsletter for K-12 educators is designed to provide teachers with economics content, lesson plans and updates on free resources available from the Federal Reserve System." This quote is from the publications tab here.

The Fall 2009 issue contains articles that examine the costs and benefits associated with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Cap and Trade policies. You will also find active lessons to teach your students about the issues.

The Spring 2009 issue examines the battle between Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle, the head of the Second Bank of the United States. Learn how Jackson was finally able to kill the Bank, and pick up great ideas for teaching your students about the issues that have confronted U.S. central banking.

The Winter issue features new research that examines the relationship between your ability to resist dessert and your savings behavior. You’ll also find engaging lesson plans and resources presented in the newsletter. The author has posted a video on the same subject here.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics. Currently, Mr. Fladlien is writing a lesson plan on the Phillips Curve.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lump Sum Subsidy



About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. Recently, his EconEdLink lesson, Okun's Law, was available for download.
Friday, November 6, 2009

Interactive Flash Animation for AP Macroeconomics

Summary: An excellent interactive graph for aggregate demand and aggregate supply.

Research on learning shows that feedback, or knowledge of results, should be immediate to maximize learning. What a better way to give immediate knowledge of results than to use flash animation. ThinkEconomics has made an interactive lesson for the AD/AS model. The link is here.

ThinkEconomics also has interactives for Supply and Demand, LRATC, Profit Maximization, and policy tools.

Students learn by doing. In other words, using "hands-on" activities. If you are a member of the Successful Practices Network and a Bill Daggett fan, these activities fall into Quadrant D. Quad D means that both high level thinking skills and real-life relevance are embedded in the lesson.

What other sites use Flash animation and interactives to teach? I am beginning to believe that textbooks are becoming a secondary resource.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. Recently, his lesson on Okun's Law was posted on EconEdLink.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

YouTube Videos for AP Economics

Summary: 60-second videos for AP Economics review.

Mr. Jacob Clifford is an AP Economics teacher and College Board Consultant in San Diego California. His videos to review AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics are here. These high-quality videos will help your students review materials in a flash and aid in make up.

My opinion is that more and more instruction is digital. I see more hand held devices used to deliver content to students faster. These videos will help you meet the diverse needs of students who work a job, participate in extracurricular activities, and take multiple AP classes.

I welcome more links to digital learning in the comment section.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

AP Released Exams

Summary: Links to the 2005 AP Macro and AP Microeconomics released exams.

The AP Macroeconomics exam is here.

The AP Microeconomics exam is here.

About every five years, the College Board releases the exam used to access students of AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics. These tests are wonderful. I bought a packet of 10 and begin the third day of class showing students the questions and a thinking process to answer the question.

Make sure to study the Acorn book to see if the current standards match those on the released exam. There's been discussion in microeconomics that game theory will have more than a dominate equilibrium.

Free AP Macroeconomic and AP Microeconomic exams are here. You'll have to register and use your user name and password that you used when submitting your syllabi.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Great Depression


Summary: The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has a curriculum for teaching the great depression.

The picture is from the high school curriculum for teaching about the depression of 1929-1939. The materials are available for immediate classroom use on the St. Louis Fed Website.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.

iPod App for AP Microeconomics



Summary: An economics review for iPods and iPhones. Naked self-promotion.

This app is available for download on iTunes. I intended this to aid students in preparing for tests in microeconomics. It's a comprehensive review of 80% of the concepts covered in a micro class.

I believe that students today want to learn using today's technology. Today's technology is iPods, Smart Boards, audience response systems, flash animation and more. When I developed this app, I developed it for the on-the-go student who values appearance too. The student I envisioned was one who had a challenging schedule and one or more after school activities. They will carry an iPod with them, but not a five pound textbook. The student I envisioned was one who studied in "micro sessions" of 10 or 15 minutes. The touch was a natural tool for these students.

When testing the beta version of this app, I found myself asking many questions about the theory, the content, and the philosophy of the question. If the app does anything, it will generate class discussion.









About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics. When he reads the Sunday newspaper, he reads the comics first.
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Annual CEE Conference


Summary: Troy, Flad, and Martina at CEE Annual Conference in Washington, D. C.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.
Friday, October 30, 2009

Graphs for AP Macroeconomics

Summary: A site with hundreds of graphs.

If you think a graph organizes data into a meaningful way for students, you might like Chartporn. You will find interactive graphs, fun charts, and more. Graphs enhance creativity and thus require higher order thinking skills to interpret. I thank Tim Schilling for this link.







About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He blogs at Mikeroeconomics.
Monday, October 26, 2009

Perfect Competition in AP Microeconomics

Summary: Outline for teaching perfect competition and study guides.

If you are teaching AP Microeconomics for the first time and want an outline, click here. I found that students want to know exactly what will be covered so an outline gives them the big picture.

Jason Welker has study guides here. Both his description and graphical representation will complement the notes from the outline link above. There's no need to carry a heavy textbook around for this unit--just use the links above.

The Advanced Placement Economics, by John Morton, has devoted unit 3 to perfect competition.

When I teach perfect competition, I stress the role of competition that drives the prices to long-run equilibrium and normal profits.

A YouTube Video is here.

What do you do to teach perfect competition that would enhance this blog offering?








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He blogs at Mikeroeconomics and and believes that perfect competition is microeconomics' major contribution to economics.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Plain English

Summary: AP Macroeconomics resource for teaching about the Federal Reserve.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has a 14-minute DVD that gives the big picture of the Federal Reserve System.  This DVD is free and highly recommended.  For ordering information and to watch part of the DVD, click here

This resource rapidly explains the structure of the Federal Reserve.  For time crunched students, this DVD can be a life saver.  For the teacher who likes to teach a mile deep, there's free online "edutainment" activities that reinforce the basic concepts. 






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author and blogs at Mikeroeconomics

Free to Choose

Summary: YouTube videos where Milton Friedman discusses economics.

Who makes a pencil?  In this video, Nobel Laurate, Milton Friedman, discusses how incentives in the market produce a pencil.  The entire series can be found with a Google or YouTube search.








About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, blogs at Mikeroeconomics, and believes in free market outcomes.

Fifty Nifty Econ Cards

Summary: Vocabulary cards to develop economic literacy.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City provides free the Fifty Nifty Econ Cards for educators.  The cards are meant to develop vocabulary skills for k - 6 grades.  I have found that my AP students benefit from the flashcards too. 

Activities that are included in the cards include: Word of the Week, Fill the "Econ Jar", Econ Pictionary, Econ in the News, and Creative Story Starter. 

Games included are: Econ Bingo, Popcorn Economics, Econ Memory, Hang Mouse, 20 Econ Questions, and Econ Word Wiz.

These cards help English Language Learners master economic concepts in a non-threatening way.  The Fifty Nifty can be used while you are taking attendance or giving make-up work.  For a full resource guide click here.






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics
Monday, October 19, 2009

Marginal Product Calculation for AP Microeconomics

Summary: What happens to output when a firm adds more and more of a variable input to a fixed input?  Eventually diminishing marginal returns set in. 



In Favorite Ways to Learn Economics by David Anderson and James Chasey have an experiment "Econville Links Factory" in which students make links.  I have modified the experiement so that students have to make "M's" for Muscatine.  Students graph total product and marginal product and learn how marginal cost is related to marginal product.  Here are the steps I used to make the M's.

1.  I have a stack of 4" X 4" paper squares, a pair of scissors, and a purple marker.  The work is completed on a desk.  My rule is that a worker has to be at least touching the desk to be in the factory. 

2.  I add one worker and give the worker 30 seconds to make as many M's as possible.

3.  After tbe round I record the total amount produced.

4.  I repeat steps 2 and 3 until I have hired six workers.

Typical results are: 4, 10, 18, 24, 28, and 30. 

I then ask students to look at the total product curve and identify when diminishing marginal returns set in.  I show how specialization lead to a greater production of goods with less resources.  I always thank Mr. Anderson for this lesson has it is also used to show a difficult concept.






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics.  Mr. Fladlien believes that a solid background in economics is the foundation for all decisions.
Saturday, October 17, 2009

Paul Solman Videos on GATE Discussion Board

Summary: Videos for class use.

For Global Association of Teachers of Economics, GATE, Paul Solman videos are online for use in your classroom.  Membership to GATE is free and entitles you to discounts on teacher training materials like Virtural Economics.  Start here to join.  You'll find the videos on the discussion board after joining.

After joining you'll find a lesson plan on unemployment.  The plan uses multimedia and "hands on" activities.  If anyone else has used these videos and written lesson plans, will you share in the comment section?






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author, blogs at Mikeroeconomics.  Currently, he is working to infuse financial literacy in the Iowa Core Curriculum.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Total Product and Marginal Product Curves

Summary: Using a Livescribe Pen to record my lecture and graphs, I show how to construct the total and marginal product curves for AP Microeconomics. 


The M Factory
brought to you by Livescribe


I wanted to show readers a technology that might be of benefit.  In this lecture I use a Livescribe Pen to record my lecture.  It's automatically uploaded to Facebook.  This is excellent for make up work and for students who need a review of the concepts. 






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. He is an EconEdLink.org author, and blogs at Mikeroeconomics
Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hands on Banking

Summary:  Free materials to teach banking



Wells Fargo has prepared a free DVD for teachers who teach general business on banking.  Financial literacy is a 21st skill.  In Iowa, the core curriculum mandates that banking be taught to all students.  This DVD offers "hands-on" learning as you can see in the demo.  The URL is: http://www.handsonlearning.org/.  From the site, you can obtain your copy.  You will also be interested to know, that the program is easy to implement for busy teachers.  Copies are available in Spanish too. 

I obtained my copy at the Council for Economic Education Annual Conference in Washington, D. C. last week.  This conference was the best one I've ever attended.  I ended up paying extra to bring back all of the materials given to me at booths.  In the next week, I will blog about all of the materials I received and blog about the comments from Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Reserve Bank President, Jeffrey M. Lacker.

As an AP economics teacher, you often see students who have by-passed general ed classes.  Do you feel you have an obligation to teach banking basic like how to write a check or use a debit card? 






About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa.