Job Offers and Factors Impacting GDP
Context for Use
Task #1 and #2 can be completed in one 90 minute class session.
Task #3 can be completed in 45 minutes, including discussion.
There are no limits to class size, use of computers with internet access is required.
Computers with internet access
Student Handouts 1, 2 (Task #1) and 3 (Task #2), and Final Assessment, one copy per student
Teacher Handouts (Handouts 1 and 2 with Teacher Solutions, Handout 3 with Teacher Notations, Handout 4 Final Assessment with Teacher notations)
This is a three part activity challenging students to see the personal value of understanding the factors impacting GDP growth when applied to evaluating where to accept a hypothetical job offer. The activity builds upon levels of understanding and utilizes geoFRED data literacy.
Expected Student Learning Outcomes
In this exercise students will be able to:
Define real GDP, labor force, capital goods, natural resources, technological advance; and, legal and cultural institutions
Apply the terms labor force, capital goods, natural resources, technological advance; and, legal and cultural institutions to real GDP.
Describe how the labor force contributes to real GDP.
Analyze the impact on the potential level of real GDP resulting from changes to the labor force
Summarize the impact of changes to real GDP on students' personal lives
Information Given to Students
Initially, students will create flashcards of vocabulary words important to developing an understanding of GDP, then study these words. Total time for flashcard creation and study = 10 minutes. A brief quiz will be conducted immediately following the ten minutes. Instructions to students are found in Student Handout 1 and the quiz is found in Student Handout 2
Student handout 1 Jobs and GDP (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 7kB Nov26 19)
Student handout 2 Jobs and GDP (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 7kB Nov26 19)
Student handout 3 for Jobs and GDP (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 8kB Nov26 19)
Student handout 4 for Jobs and GDP (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 7kB Nov26 19)
Instructor handout 1 for Jobs and GDP (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 8kB Nov26 19)
Teaching Notes and Tips
However, the lesson is then extended into more far reaching situations. Students view, and are asked to take notes on, a short Economics In Person video (5:56 minutes) comparing impacts of college degree attainment on communities' real GDP. This begins Task #2 where students test the hypothesis posed by the video: "Populations with a higher percentage of college graduates increases the quality of the labor force. A higher quality of labor force results in a higher real GDP per capita." Students use GeoFRED to collect GDP, real GDP per capita, Percentage of Population with a Bachelors' Degree or higher, and Median Household Income data to test the hypothesis by comparing and contrasting their home state, the state of Massachusetts, and the state of West Virginia, then considering whether these statistics may also correlate with greater median household income.
Lastly, student teams will evaluate and select from identical job offers in different locations. The teams' abilities to understand and apply the concepts of GDP, the factors influencing GDP, and use of GeoFred data to make an informed choice in employment offers will influence their choices. Additionally, the weight applied to different economic data will influence team choice. Discussion regarding general lessons learned from the tasks, and the personal value of understanding economic concepts, conclude the lesson plan.
Task #1 - Vocabulary and Quiz (30 minutes)
Distribute Handout #1 to students. This handout requires students to create flashcards of vocabulary words important to developing an understanding of real GDP, and to study these words. Total time for flashcard creation and study = 10 minutes. Students go to https://www.stlouisfed.org/education/glossary and click on the blue "CREATE CUSTOM FLASHCARDS" link. Students have up to fifteen minutes to create eight flashcards and memorize definitions to the following vocabulary words: labor force, natural resources, technological capability, institutions, real gross domestic product, per capita gross domestic product, and median value. This step prepares students for a low-stakes quiz given as step two.
Student Handout 1
Instructor Handout 1
Distribute and administer quiz to students. Emphasize to students the necessity of understanding the definitions in order to better analyze the answer options to each multiple choice question. (5-10 minutes)
Student Handout 2 - quiz
Instructor Handout 2 - quiz key
Tell students that if they did well on the quiz, they can now recognize and apply definitions to eight commonly used terms in economics and apply them to textbook style questions. While this is a good first step, is only the beginning of learning. To learn something is to experience and study something until it becomes understanding and this requires a greater cognitive load.
If an example for students of "increasing cognitive load to" would be beneficial, ask students to state the days of the week and to consider how much cognitive load (how hard your brain needs to work) this requires. (Likely very low. Students recognize the days of the week.) Then, ask students to state the days of the week in alphabetical order. This requires a greater cognitive load and more understanding (order of the alphabet, how each day is spelled, in addition to remembering each day of the week.)
For another example, tell students that recognizing an object as a car is one level of understanding. Knowing how to build a car is a much deeper level of learning, and much more useful when your car stops working. Tell students that their goal should be to study economic concepts to a level similar to understanding how to build a car. When this happens, economics goes from being something recognized, to being something useful.
Tell students we want to bring our understanding from the level of recognizing and applying the definitions of terms to the level of understanding their influence on the economy and on students' personal lives and choices.
We'll use Task #2 to exemplify this level of learning through a focus on the labor force influence on real GDP.
Once task #1 has been completed, show students the Economics In Person video (5:56 min. In length) at the San Francisco Federal Reserve education site found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PPVeNcfCTI
Briefly discuss the video with students and ask them the question "According to the video, what are the reasons for greater real GDP in communities? (Answer begins at minute 3:18 in video and is outlined below..)
The video states that a highly educated workforce is key for the following reasons:
Highly educated workers are complements with less skilled workers, this increases productivity and creates higher wages for both groups
More education increases the likelihood of creating and adopting new and better technology which also increases productivity
More education increases human capital. When surrounded by better educated individuals, other individuals more likely to learn more, learn faster and become more productive
The reasons impact "Quality of Resources" - a determinant of the Production Possibilities Frontier = Improved Labor Force
End brief discussion by asking students their thoughts on the two big policy questions brought up in the video:
How to foster growth in "brain hubs"?; and,
How to help communities falling behind?
Another way of approaching this is to ask students what suggestions they have for improving their education experience. How can we help support student pursuit of a college degree?
For the next step of Task #2 students will collect data to test the hypothesis we can derive from the film: "Populations with a higher percentage of college graduates increases the quality of the labor force. A higher quality of labor force results in a higher real GDP per capita."
Give students Student Handout 3
Instructor Handout 3
For the last step of this exercise, students will complete their second assessment for this lesson, Task #3.
Student Handout 4 - assessment
Instructor Handout 4 - assessment with notes
References and Resources
The transcript to this video can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DIEBfRfXw70oY281pdidWs2-qGQqhzMlPHfMOpkQZiU/edit?usp=sharing