Guest blog by Jacqueline Prester, Teacher, Mansfield High School
For several years, I have enjoyed using the Econ Essentials modules to deliver high-quality economics curriculum in the Entrepreneurship class I teach at Mansfield High School. The interactive modules provide student choice, self-paced learning, and a sense of accomplishment with a certificate of completion. I was thrilled to learn that a new component would be added to the Econ Essentials stable!
The Seeker Stories video series offers three short documentaries that chronicle how economics impact the real world. The videos feature real entrepreneurs in various industries, from fossil fuels to farming to hospitality. To celebrate #NationalFarmersDay on October 12, my Entrepreneurship students watched “Why the U.S. Needs a New Generation of Farmers.”
Before viewing the documentary, I polled my students to get a sense of how familiar they were with farming. Mansfield is a suburban town located thirty miles south of Boston; there aren’t an abundance of farms in the immediate area. I found that 14% of my students knew the farmers producing their food. Surprisingly, 24% had families that produced some of their own food, ranging from herbs and vegetables to apples and peaches. 58% would choose more expensive food that is grown locally over less-expensive food that is grown far away. Why? Simply stated, Collis noted that “it helps local businesses and the food is more likely fresher.”
Students then watched the documentary and learned about Leanna, a young farmer who had no intentions of a career in farming. She eventually changed her mind when discovering the impact young farmers could have on our nation. My students understood as well. Adam “enjoyed the video because it addressed the need for future farmers in the US. It gives awareness that the United States may be dependent on other countries for food in the next couple of decades.” Sean felt the same way. He stated that the video “made me think about the impacts my career choices will make on the community. It also made me think about how the newer generations’ interests and career choices are different than the previous generations’ choices.” Watching this video made my students more aware of their career choices and how they could both impact the economy and our environment going forward.
Educator Companion Guide
One of the great features of the Seeker Stories video series is the fabulous Educator Companion Guide. Provided to educators are introductions, video overviews, discussion questions for before and after viewing, external links for additional material, and curriculum which ties to specific content areas. This particular video on farming had connections to Finance, Entrepreneurship, Career Exploration, Science, Agriculture, and Health, making it easy to integrate into many subject areas.
Although 68% of my students still did not want to become a farmer after watching “Why the U.S. Needs a New Generation of Farmers,” their eyes were opened to a bigger world. Samantha noted that the “next time I eat, I will recognize where my food comes from and not take it for granted.”
To learn more and access free resources, visit Econ Essentials at http://www.econessentialsinschool.com/.