IUPUI center helping K-12 students master economics

389636_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Teacher training, classroom materials and student competitions sponsored by an IUPUI academic center are giving local students a grasp of how the American economy works.

The Center for Economic Education, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a member of the Indiana Council for Economic Education, works with K-12 educators to improve their understanding of economics and personal finance. It provides teaching strategies that can be easily integrated into classroom instruction.

A coach with a long history with the center recently had two teams of Carmel High School students place among the top four at a national competition testing their knowledge of economics.

“I have been involved with the IUPUI Center for Economic Education (and the Council for Economic Education) for almost 20 years,” said Michelle Foutz, coach of the winning Carmel teams. “I consider myself fortunate to be teaching economics in a state that places great value in economics education.”

One Carmel team placed second in the Adam Smith Division of the National Economics Challenge in May, while the second placed third in the David Ricardo Division. Advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors students compete in the Adam Smith Division. The David Ricardo Division is open to students who have only taken a single-semester economics course.

The Carmel High School teams earned their way to the national event by winning the state championship competition hosted and coordinated by the IUPUI center in partnership with the Indiana Council for Economic Education.

“Economics Challenge, Commodity Challenge, Stock Market Simulation, Key Teacher Program and Econ Camp are fantastic center and council programs that have increased my enthusiasm for teaching and have also generated a lot of student enthusiasm for learning economics,” Foutz said.

“I would love to introduce Economics Challenge to all of my students. After participating in this competition, my students have a much greater appreciation for learning economics, and they have more confidence in themselves and in what they can accomplish. I can’t say enough about the benefits of this competition, and the positive impact on my kids.”

The Indiana Economics Challenge is one of two high school competitions the IUPUI Center for Economic Education, directed by Mohammad Kaviani, coordinates. The Center, in partnership with the Indiana Council for Economic Education, also coordinates the Indiana Personal Finance Challenge, an online competition that focuses on topics related to personal finance.  These competitions help ensure that Indiana students have a basic understanding of economics and the tools for making sound financial decisions.

More than 10,500 high school students from across the country competed in the national level of the Economics Challenge. Eight teams, including the Carmel students, completed exams and a critical-thinking round in the semifinals. Bellaire High School from Houston, Texas, and Hunter College High School from New York City were named first-place winners respectively in the Adam Smith and David Ricardo divisions following quiz bowl rounds for each final four teams.

CNBC has archived news coverage of the competition available online.