Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies

Mary J. Williams, Monroe Catholic High School, Fairbanks, AK


Appropriate for grades 11-12.

OVERVIEW:  During their senior year our students take back to back
courses in government and economics.  In order to show them that
these concepts are interrelated and constantly changing we use the
book The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner as a
supplementary source over the course of two semesters.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this activity is to expand the
understanding of students in the areas of both economics and
government.  It is to also show the relationship between these two
subjects and how, over the course of time, our views regarding
these two subjects has changed.  Its third purpose is to show the
relationship of these ideas to current political and economic

OBJECTIVES:  Students will be able to:

 1.  Explain and present to their classmates the concepts
     explained by economists since the time of Adam Smith, put
     these concepts into historical perspective and, where
     applicable, relate these ideas to current issues.

 2.  Understand that both political and economic systems are ever
     changing and that a change in either one of these systems may
     cause a change in the other as well.

 3.  Sort out those economists that have contributed lasting
     achievements in their field and those that may have been of
     only passing importance or a novelty of their times.

ACTIVITIES:  Over the course of the year, once each semester, the
students are divided into five groups and asked to present a
chapter from The Worldly Philosophers.  Each of the groups is
given some general requirements expected for all of the chapters
and some specific requirements for the particular economist(s)
talked about in their assigned chapter.

At the assigned time each group presents their project to the
class.  The following requirements must be included in each of
these reports:

 1.  The report must be oral.

 2.  There must be some type of visual aide to accompany the

 3.  The presentation must have originality and creativity.  Just
     reading a report is not acceptable.

After the report has been presented the class has the opportunity
to ask questions of the presenters concerning any material that
was not clearly explained.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS NEEDED:  The Worldly Philosopher by Robert


Evaluation:  At the end of each of the presentations all of the
students are given a written test over the material.  Those
students who are responsible for the presentation are also given a
grade for the presentation.

General Comments:  Over the course of the year as the ideas of the
various economists are studied, students are (through directed
questions) led to an understanding of how the ideas about both
government and economics have changed and how interrelated these
two concepts are.  This is a difficult concept for some students
to understand but one that is necessary if students are to truly
understand the basis for our government and economic systems and
why we, as a nation are constantly re-evaluating and refining


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