October 19, 2017 Reading Time: 2 minutes

At a recent annual conference of the Council for Economic Education, a lesson on unemployment was presented by Vicki L. Fuhrhop, a teacher at Collinsville High School in Collinsville, Ill. Vicki is AIER’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative alumna from the 2016 Chicago class. She joins the roster of teachers who implemented lesson ideas from our workshops in their classrooms. We call these teachers Master teachers.

At the session on Saturday, October 7, the room was full of attendees who wanted to learn how to incorporate the unemployment concept across the curriculum. We started by demonstrating a lesson about the unemployment survey. This lesson is created by the Council for Economic Education and published within the High School Economics textbook. The idea of this lesson is to teach students how the unemployment rate is calculated through the survey process.

Each person who entered our conference room that morning got a card with a role on it. Examples of roles are retiree, lawyer, manager, part-time employee, someone not working but interviewed recently, and someone staying home with small children, to name just a few. The task was to interview five random people in the room and then assess whether they are employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force. This step allowed the participants to question their understanding of who belongs in which group, and how afterward to calculate the unemployment rate. As I guided the discussion about these questions, I showed the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, which reports the unemployment statistics, and emphasized the importance of primary sources in working with the students.

Then Vicky Fuhrhop talked about the lesson she implemented in her class using AIER’s resources. She talked about how our workshop helped her to gain knowledge about economic concepts and confidence to teach this material. We also shared other ideas on how to infuse lesson on the unemployment survey in various disciplines, as described in my paper published in The Councilor.

AIER’s session at the conference was well-attended. We invited participants to join us next summer and to promote our program to their colleagues and school officials. As a result of our successes through the four years of program development, AIER’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative is gaining national attention and recognition.


Picture: Natalia Smirnova of AIER (left) and Vicki L. Fuhrhop, a teacher at Collinsville High School in Collinsville, Ill., at the CEE 2017 Annual Conference, NYC.


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Natalia Smirnova, PhD

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