This week’s guest post is written by Angela Howdeshell, Vice President for Programs and Administration for the Kansas Council for Economic Education.
The current political tension has created many “teachable moments” for helping students understand many of the economic issues facing our nation. These issues are not always taught in classrooms but this is a great time to help students clarify their own thinking and ultimately, become more informed citizens and future voters. The issues are very complex and require our students to begin to dig into these topics in order to understand not only the challenges faced and the impact of choices made in the past, but also to understand the challenges our nation faces today and the impact of the choices we make now.
Students around the nation are talking about the presidential election. I remember my middle school and high school days watching presidential elections and feeling a need to take part in some way, shape, or form. It was fun to have mock elections but I knew that those votes just stayed in the classroom and would not affect the actual vote tally. I would go home those nights watching the local news seeing the individual votes go up and up and up as the polls closed but knowing none of those votes were mine.
Our state standards here in Kansas are a bit different than most other states. We focus on five big ideas rather than specific content. It’s a great idea based on research but it can be difficult at times for our teachers to align their instruction. And I know that many of you around the country are always on the lookout for quality Econ resources and lesson plans.
The Kansas and national Councils for Economic Education are just the thing!
The digital landscape that you and your kids have to navigate has exploded. Mobile technology, apps, instant access, digital content. The stuff is everywhere. And all of that stuff is changing how we do school.
But sometimes it feels like there is just too much. Sometimes it’s easier to just throw up our hands and try to ignore everything out there. How do we sort through all of it? We need unbiased and relevant information that can help us find the best of what we’re looking for.
And now there’s help. Enter Graphite, a free tool designed just for educators.
Basically, you do a map search with a Google Maps-like interface, click on a specific place on the resulting map, and the Historical Topographic Map Explorer will provide a timeline with topo maps from the past.