At a Glance

Discipline

  • Social Sciences

Course

  • Introduction to Economics

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Solving problems
  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Presenting

Technical Details

Class size

  • Small (20-49)

Time

Brief segment of class period (< 20 mins)

Purpose

  • Review & consolidation

Overview

In this activity, students respond to a series of personal prompts related to the lecture/topics discussed in the course. This is done in order to have students familiarize themselves with the topics and apply technical language by writing a one page response to questions or by working in groups on a short assignment. Related to each topic, there is a reading from a textbook and a quiz that accompanies it. Students are able to take the quiz at any time before the end of the semester.

In class, one of the thinkpieces relates to exchange rates where students are ...

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In this activity, students respond to a series of personal prompts related to the lecture/topics discussed in the course. This is done in order to have students familiarize themselves with the topics and apply technical language by writing a one page response to questions or by working in groups on a short assignment. Related to each topic, there is a reading from a textbook and a quiz that accompanies it. Students are able to take the quiz at any time before the end of the semester.

In class, one of the thinkpieces relates to exchange rates where students are split into groups of 2-3 and they are given the prompt of the exchange rate between Canada and Mexico over the past 10 years (relating to subjects of international trade, trade policy, protectionism, Quebec economy, exchange rate…). Students role play in their groups as the CEO of Bombardier in Mirabel and use the information on the graph to decide whether or not to buy more plane parts from Mexico and build a plant there. In order to make this decision they ask themselves a series of questions to understand the effect of trade imbalances on the exchange rate. The answers to these questions are used to broaden the discussion and written component to a more personal level: have you ever been to Mexico, what was the exchange rate, how did that affect what you bought, how would these effects outlined in your answers and in the graph effect tourism?

Finally, the students submit their assignments to the teacher, who assigns a grade based on participation in the assignment. The instructor gives feedback orally in the next class or in a brief discussion as a class in order to highlight good answers and address any errors.

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Instructional Objectives

  • These writing assignments aim to make the material, which is often removed and theoretical from the students, to a level at which they can relate to more, thus giving them an intrinsic motivator to engage with the content.

Workflow & Materials

Activity Workflow

In-Class Think Pieces: Course Pack

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Contributor's Notes

Benefits

  • This helps the instructor give immediate feedback and assess the level of understanding of the students;
  • This activity gets students used to thinking in the correct terms of the discipline;
  • This activity helps create cohesion in the classroom as students feel as though they are contributing to the structure of the course.
  • Comments made by students in these assignments are sometimes integrated into the course pack notes to help teach the class.
  • This allows the instructuction to correct mistakes immediately after the lecture, to segway between topics, to encourage attendance, or to review topics.

Challenges

  • Time is a challenge as it is necessary to fit it around the lecture time;
  • Gaging the level of each of the students can sometimes be important to see whether or not it is beneficial to do the exercise. If students are asking questions that show they have grasped the material at the right level then it might not be as beneficial to take up lecture time.

Tips

  • Keep prompts short, personal, open ended, and simple by keying into the emotion/feeling languaging (ex. How would you feel if you were replaced by a robot at your job? How would you explain the economic concept of unemployment to your grandmother?);
  • This can be used as a good way to segway between two lectures or topics especially right after a test when the material is usually less dense there is more opportunity to integrate it into class-time;
  • Discussing their responses in the next class, demonstrating an engagement with their writing helps foster a better class atmosphere and a better rapport with the students and helps integrate their own ways of explaining a concept to the benefit of the whole class;
  • Making the evaluation based entirely on participation helps students feel at ease in the activity and free to write whatever they want without pressure.

Applied Strategies

  1. 1
    Problem-Based Learning

Feedback

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