October 7, 2016

Elementary teacher's award highlights economics education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Tippecanoe County teacher, Gina Boyd, has won a national award for teaching her students sophisticated economic principles.

Boyd, a teacher at Mayflower Mill Elementary, was named a John Morton Excellence in Teaching award winner by the national Council for Economic Education. Boyd also serves as a teacher advocate for Purdue University's Center for Economic Education. The center is part of Purdue's Krannert School of Management.

The economics center, founded 50 years ago, offers workshops and courses to bring economic concepts to students in grades K-12. Purdue's center primarily serves Tippecanoe and seven other counties. The Indiana Council for Economic Education works with 11 university-based centers around the state.

The concepts are taught through programs developed at Purdue. Elementary teachers in the classroom set up the mini-economy program. Each student is assigned a classroom task that earns them a payday every two weeks. The "play money" they earn can be spent every two weeks at a student-planned market. The market teaches students about price mechanisms and running a business.

"Our lessons are constructed to both meet state standards and provide real world market experiences.  While test scores are important, we also want to prepare students to manage their financial lives once they are out of school," said professor David Perkis, director of the Purdue center.

The Purdue center also provides small incentive grants of $200 to local teachers to start a classroom business enterprise. The program teaches economic concepts, as well as teamwork and leadership skills, as students run a real business.

Boyd will receive her award Friday (Oct. 7) in Phoenix, Arizona, during the annual Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference. Boyd and two other national winners receive a $1,000 honorarium and all expenses to attend the conference. 

Writer: Howard W. Hewitt, 765-494-9541, hhewitt@purdue.edu

Source: David Perkis, perkis@purdue.edu

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