I have a lot to do over these next few weeks before I move from California to New York. Cancel California utilities. Order New York utilities. Pack. Sell stuff. The list goes on. So I started a to-do list and for some reason the first thing I wanted to put on the list was “‘Yes
Elasticity is not only a topic taught in a principles of microeconomics class that confuses 72% of students. Students do understand the basics of what the term elasticity means outside of economics. So why not use that understanding to try and teach the difficult concept? Students use the word elasticity in their everyday lives. From
First a shout-out to Wayne Geerling. of Penn State University for inspiring this activity. I saw in my Facebook feed that he used paper airplanes to teach about economic models and decided to expand it this summer session. Below is how I used paper airplanes to teach endogenous and exogenous factors in economic models. Please
Did you know you can download all of your tweets? Yup. That’s right. And I did it. It’s pretty simple: 1. Sign into Twitter from a computer. 2. Click on the gear in the top right corner. 3. Go to settings. 4. At the very bottom you will see “Your Twitter Archive” 5. Click the
I have a lot to do over these next few weeks before I move from California to New York. Cancel California utilities. Order New York utilities. Pack. Sell stuff. The list goes on.
So I started a to-do list and for some reason the first thing I wanted to put on the list was “‘Yes And’ everything” and I thought to myself, “What should an improviser’s to-do list look like on an everyday basis?”
This is what I designed. Nothing fancy. Just basic. The way I like my improv. Simple, to the point, and organized.
Please feel free to print some out for yourself and check off the top 3 everyday.
(also posted on my ImprovMemes Facebook Page)
Elasticity is not only a topic taught in a principles of microeconomics class that confuses 72% of students. Students do understand the basics of what the term elasticity means outside of economics. So why not use that understanding to try and teach the difficult concept?
Students use the word elasticity in their everyday lives. From rubber bands to hair ties to working out with P90X (P90X is not my thing… actually exercise really isn’t my thing, but for what it’s worth my friend Michelle does an excellent job comparing P90X and the Insanity workout on her blog here). This activity is meant to get your students thinking about how the economic use of the word elasticity isn’t that far off from what they already know.
Elasticity – a measure of responsiveness
That’s how I start. No big economics definition. No percentage changes or midpoint methods. Simply: responsiveness. Because let’s be honest, that’s what elasticity is measuring How something responds to something else. How is this rubber band responding to me pulling on it. How is quantity demanded responding to a price change? How is quantity demanded changing to a change in income? Etc.
The more it stretches, the more elastic the rubber band is. Hey students… guess what? The more the quantity demanded responds to the price change the more elastic that good is!!!
So here is the activity. I hope you enjoy and use it in your class. Feel free to add to it and report back so I can make it even better next semester.
*2 different types of rubber bands. I used size 64 and size 84 from Staples. Both are thick enough for students to write on.
*Fine-Tip Markers (students can also use their own pens for bigger classes)
Materials Needed by Students:
An open mind and willingness to learn
Suggested Class for the Activity:
Whenever you teach elasticity.
At the beginning of class I had students come to the front of the room and grab one skinny rubber band (#64), one fat rubber band (#84), and one fine-tip Sharpie. Remember in a large class you don’t need to give out markers. Students can use their own pens but markers work best on rubber bands.
While teaching elasticity I like to play with the rubber band and encourage students to do the same; making them ‘feel’ what elasticity is. Showing them that different rubber bands have elasticities just like different goods have different elasticities. Also relating big responses to elastic things (both rubber bands and goods) and small responses to inelastic things. This uses their sense of touch to trigger memories of the topic.
After the basic elasticity lecture of what elasticity is, have your students pair up or get in small groups to discuss what types of goods they think would be classified as elastic goods and inelastic goods. Tell them to write the elastic goods on the more elastic rubber band and write the inelastic goods on the more inelastic band.
Personally I collected the rubber bands so I could take pictures and make this post (a little selfish I know). I think I am going to give the rubber bands back the day before the exam just so they have something that triggers their memory while studying. I think the next time I do this activity in class I will put two boxes in the front of the room and have them try and shoot elastic rubber bands in one box and the inelastic ones in the other box and give awards (probably pieces of candy) for people who make it in.
Overall the activity went over very well. The activity itself only took up about 15 minutes. I’d say in a larger class it may take up a bit more time. Ideally this activity is for classes of less than 50 but with good TAs and a little help it could work for any size.
Thoughts? Comments? Extensions? I’d love to hear them!
First a shout-out to Wayne Geerling. of Penn State University for inspiring this activity. I saw in my Facebook feed that he used paper airplanes to teach about economic models and decided to expand it this summer session. Below is how I used paper airplanes to teach endogenous and exogenous factors in economic models. Please feel free to use this in your class, add to it, and report back!
Materials Needed by Instructor:
1. Trashcan or Box for target
2. Reward for winners (I used candy bars… you can use extra credit or just a good ole fashioned congrats!)
1. A sheet of paper
2. A pen/pencil
3. An open mind and willingness to learn (sometimes the hardest)
Suggested class for activity: first class of the semester
To start off I explain the difference between endogenous and exogenous variables:
Endogenous variables (or internal factors) are variables that are built into the model and determined by the model itself.
Exogenous variables (or external factors) are outsides factors that will affect the model as a whole.
Most students taking intro to micro think this is the first class where they have to understand models. That’s false. I try and explain to them that models are everywhere from the Solar System to an atom in their chemistry class to the human body that’s used in their high school biology lab. And of course, in paper airplanes.
Then I have them build their own paper airplane models but here is my extension: pair the students up (starts working on group work) and as they make their model I have them write any endogenous factors on the inside of the airplane (the paper, how it was made, etc) and any exogenous factors on the outside of the airplane (the temperature in the room, the air conditioning turing on, etc).
Then each group steps to an assigned location, I ask them to tell me an endogenous or exogenous variable, I have them name their airplane something unique to get them to laugh, and then try to hit the target. The closest to the target wins.
It’s a very simple activity to do with your students. In larger lectures you cannot have them all go one-by-one but you can have them put their names on the paper airplane and aim for the target, collecting the one that is closest. I’m lucky enough to have only 17 students in my class this summer. In the fall when I have closer to 50 I wont be able to ask each group questions. Makes me sad.
**Congrats to Jake and Cormac for winning Twix bars this summer session at Chapman University. I told them they would get a shout-out on the blog!
Did you know you can download all of your tweets? Yup. That’s right. And I did it. It’s pretty simple:
1. Sign into Twitter from a computer.
2. Click on the gear in the top right corner.
3. Go to settings.
4. At the very bottom you will see “Your Twitter Archive”
5. Click the Send Email Button
6. Unzip the file
7. Open the .csv file in Excel
8. Be amazed.
Pretty sweet. I found out my first ever tweet was on April 6th of 2009 and it was a doozy: “studying econometrics… boo” and @JayBlackComedy was the first person I tweeted to. (BTW if you don’t know Jay you should… he rocks)
Pretty neat if you ask me. Then I thought… “What if I put this into Wordle?”
I’m a little late to the Wordle train but I have become obsessed. I keep trying to find ways to use it since the two of us were formally introduced at the AEA Conference on Teaching & Economic Education last weekend in Chicago. Kim Holder, an amazing economics instructor but even better Rubik’s Cube solver, uses Wordle in her economics class. I loved it.
So here is my Twitter Wordle. I suggest you do the same thing and then post a link to it in my comments below so I can see it! Ok. Now I really should start writing those test bank questions……
For the second year in a row you would find me at Improv Utopia during Memorial Day Weekend. Stolen from the website: Camp Improv Utopia is a four-day three-night cabin camping experience for improvisers, actors and business professionals 18 and over. Filled with workshops, camping events, team building, campfires, stories, performances and more!
This year was amazing and I would need many, many posts to serve it justice so I decided to do a post on quotes I jotted down during workshops that stuck with me and that I want to use in my own work. I hope you enjoy and for those of you who attended please comment and add others I missed!!
Rich Talarico during his session: The Way of Improv
“Always try to touch something when you are in a scene”
“Don’t dig a hole by trying to be funny”
Dana Powell during her session: Emotional Triggers
“You dont have to try and be funny… these were funny because they were real… and they were connected”
She also said something so funny I think I pissed my pants. While trying to trigger anger from one girl she said “He just gave you Chlamydia! … Your gift basket is now tainted forever!!” I know this quote isn’t about improv but I died.
Craig Cackowski during his session: Sell it!
“Energy, confidence, and decisiveness is 90% of the battle.”
“You need to look silly before you can look cool”
“Be aware of what you are foreshadowing”
Dave Hill during his session: Getting into Character
“Bold, specific choices connect with your audience”
For ECON200, Principles of Microeconomics, at Chapman University this summer I will be using the textbook Principles of Microeconomics by N. Gregory Mankiw. I will also be using the online homework with the textbook called Aplia. There are a few different ways to go about getting the textbook and access to Aplia.
Note: I know textbooks can be expensive but as a business major you should understand a good investment when you see one. Textbooks are meant to specialize in the material and are a great resource for learning. A few hundred dollars now will pay off when you get higher grades and thousands of dollars in future salary. I honestly wish I would have put a higher value on textbooks when I was a student as I am not playing catch up with ideas and topics I could have known more deeply in my undergraduate years.
I also know that students are always looking for the best deal and different students learn in different manners. That is why I wrote this to help you decide which text option is best for you. There are three options I suggest:
1. Go to the bookstore: $274.25
The bookstore has the bundle of the paperback textbook (not a looseleaf version so you can sell it back if you want to) and the Aplia access code for $274.25. This is the most expensive option but also the easiest option for someone who likes to have a hard copy of the textbook in front of them.
2. Order a digital copy online: $137
Cengage offers the textbook as a digital copy through the Aplia interface. This allows for you to get the same materials at half the cost BUT you do not get a hard copy of the book. This can be troublesome for individuals who enjoy having the textbook in front of them while reading. The digital interface for the text through Aplia is very neat through, as you can highlight, take notes, and search the text. A big problem is that this will not work on an iPad or phone. So you must access it from a computer. Here is where you can order the access code which gets you access to the course AND the digital textbook: https://www.cengagebrain.com/shop/isbn/978-1-111-77801-9
Follow number 2 above but also get the earlier edition online. It will not be exactly the same but if you really want the hard copy in front of you while reading/studying, this is a cheaper way of doing it. If you choose this options please order the textbook early enough in advance that it arrives before our first meeting on June 3rd.
Either way you must be signed on to Aplia by May 30th. If you need help signing on to Aplia please view the instructions I e-mailed out here.
If you have any questions about the textbook you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org I suggest the second option if you do not mind reading on your computer. Either way I do expect you to have all of the reading done before each class.
See you soon!
Nudge [nuhj]: verb to push gently
If you’re reading this post as an economist than you have probably heard of if not read the book Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. If you are unfamiliar with the New York Times Best Seller that’s ok too. The idea is pretty simple: are there ways to nudge individuals into making better decisions. Here I discuss a teaching technique I came up with to try and nudge my students to do things I know will benefit them in the long run but they just don’t do.
Let me give you a brief breakdown of how students earn their grades in my class. Every point is weighted the same but not every assignment is worth the same amount of points. Pretty simple. For example a quiz may be worth 50 points but an exam worth 100. The final may be worth 250 where a project worth 200. But every point earned goes into a bin towards 1000 points.
This year I made 50 of those 1000 points what I called “Easy 5s.” Easy 5s are simple, they are tasks that you do as a student that earn you an easy 5 points.
Some examples this year included: having the textbook on the first day of school, bringing a calculator to the first exam, visiting my office hours in the first week, participating in an econ meme contest, volunteering in class, attending a discussion on campus, being on time for class one random morning at 8am, going to a review session… etc.
I found that students weren’t too happy that it was part of their grade. They wanted it as extra credit but I very seldom give extra credit (although I love to ask about the jobs report the day it comes out to see who follows me on twitter). In the end I saw econ club meetings with 30 people attending, packed review sessions, and overall more connections with my students through visits to office hours and social media communication.
So if you are trying to find a way to get your students to do simple things that could really help them in the long run, maybe just give them a nudge, and an easy 5 points.
ALBANY, NY — In an attempt to clean up the State University of New York campuses, the SUNY board of trustees has approved a tabasco-free policy that would ban use of all tabasco products on all 64 state campuses by January 1st, 2014.
“Tabasco use has been on the rise in recent years as it is seen as being ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ to ruin your tastebuds,” Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said Monday. “It’s time the SUNY system takes a stand against the rights of our students and staff.”
The ban would include all tabasco products: tabasco hot sauce, tabasco peppers, anything produced in the Mexican state of Tabasco.
Sophomore theatre major Colin Munroe does not think the ban will work. “How are they going to enforce this? Search my dorm room for hot sauce?” Munroe said in a phone interview while eating a flavorful burrito drenched in Tabasco sauce. “Plus, Mexican food sucks in New York. How are we supposed to enjoy it without Tabasco? Just ban all Mexican food why don’t you!”
Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Jim Raines, feels students and staff will just substitute tabasco with other things that are worse for you. “We as humans are habit forming creatures and tabasco is addicting. If you take away tabasco products, we as humans will substitute into other things like alcohol, marijuana, or meth.”
Before the ban goes into effect it must be approved by the New York State legislature. Requests to the state assembly were not returned as they were too busy cutting education funding.
You may not know Justin “Red” Turner but hopefully after this post you will know him a little better. And then you can go to the MLB website and write him in as an all-star… really at any position except catcher.
Just a note: Justin has no idea I wrote this and does not endorse this at all. But his pretty cool girlfriend, Kourtney, inspired this post.
1. He answers tweets and meets fans at bars.
2. He is a much better pie-er than John Buck
(.gifs courtesy of @MetsKevin11 on Twitter)
3. He looks bad-ass with his hair and beard:
(photo credit: Wall Street Journal)
4. Sometimes his girlfriend favorites your tweet about having a #BaseballBoner
5. This year he has played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF and has been DH, and PH. All with a huge smile!
(Photo Credi: http://metsfanfiction.blogspot.com)
6. He tweets awesome stuff after games:
7. Although he hasn’t played every game… he has great stats for his role! Why isn’t there a utility player All-Star?
8. He did NOT sign with the Yankees!
(photo credit: www.massholesports.com)
9. He sometimes decides to do belly flops while rounding first base on an RBI single:
10. He loves baseball. And honestly it makes me smile watching him.
Search “Justin Turner Mets” and count the number of pictures he is smiling!
So stop what you are doing and GO WRITE IN Justin Turner. Do it. For the love of the game!!
I write to you today as I watch my daily dose of SportsCenter. I am getting ready for my favorite day of the week, Friday, and I’m getting pissed off.
I watch SportsCenter for the same reasons the majority of other viewers do: to watch sports highlights and hear interesting and insightful analysis. What do we not watch for? Fashion updates. Sure some may watch because they feel David Wright looks hott in baseball pants… but we will leave my man-crush on Captain American out of this.
Are you serious SportsCenter? You cannot tell me that commenting on Dwayne Wade’s Versace flower-print jacket is worthy of a 15 minute segment on your show. Who writes the statement “And what about those headbands?” on the teleprompter for a sports news caster to read? Do you need new sports writers? Twitter is full of them.
I’m all for fashion. Don’t get me wrong. You like your thing, I like my thing, that’s what makes ‘Merica such a great country! I just feel it does not belong on SportsCenter. Here is an idea: team up with HGTV and do a special on Fashion in Sports. This would allow for the dozens of people interested in lens-less glasses on 6’9” NBA players to get their dose of it.
You don’t see shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” doing 15 minutes of brides playing basketball or “House Hunters International” start talking about the local sports community. SportsCenter is for sports. Jeopardy is for trivia. And fashion shows are for fashion.
Please stop fooling yourself that your viewers are even the slightest interested in how clownish D-Wade, Lebron, Melo, RGIII, and especially Mark Sanchez look. I’m not impressed.
A sports fan not interested in fashion: James Tierney