A Cooperative Learning Approach to Policy Debates (with Application to an Economics of Poverty and Discrimination Class) part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Cooperative Learning:Examples
At the beginning of the semester, the class is divided into teams, each consisting of 2 students. Two teams are selected to participate in each of the scheduled classroom debates covering relevant policy questions. Each debate is held at the point in the semester when related course material is covered. For each debate, one of the 2 students in each team will be responsible for researching the affirmative position of the policy question and the other team member will be responsible for researching the negative position. Several days prior to the debate, each team member will submit a paper supporting his/her assigned position. Team members then meet outside of class to share and discuss both sides of the question and both team members must arrive to class prepared to actively debate either position on the day of the debate. A coin flip determines which of the two teams will debate the affirmative position; the other team is responsible for debating the negative position.This assignment was originally developed for an Economics of Poverty and Discrimination course targeting non-majors, but the assignment could be readily adapted to other courses by altering the debate topics and/or number of debates.
An Extended Think-Pair-Share Application: Trends in the U.S. Wage Structure part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Cooperative Learning:Examples
In a think-pair-share activity, students first work independently to apply theoretical concepts discussed in class to analyze graphically the effects of changes in the relative supply of (or demand for) skilled labor on the relative wage during various time periods. Students are then paired to share and revise their answers, combining the answers from each part of the question to describe the long-run trend in the U.S. wage structure. These teams are then paired with another team who has completed the same exercise to discuss their answers, revising them if needed, before being randomly chosen to report answers to the larger class. This exercise is designed for an economic history course; however, those covering long-run trends in wages/prices in any course might find the activity template equally useful.
Think-Pair-Share Activity for Understanding Price Controls part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:Teaching Methods:Cooperative Learning:Examples
In a think-pair-share activity, students first work independently to demonstrate mathematically and graphically how price floors and ceilings affect market outcomes. Students are then paired to share and revise their answers before being randomly chosen to report answers to the larger class. This exercise is designed for a principles of microeconomics course; however, instructors reviewing price controls in any course might find them equally useful. Follow up exercises are provided so that instructors might engage students with additional problem solving outside of class or develop additional think-pair-share exercises on these and related supply and demand concepts.