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Guide to Contextual Learning Projects

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Environmental literacy
Media literacy
Health literacy
Economic literacy
Civic literacy
Computer Technology
Data Analysis
Writing Skills
Creative and Critical Thinking

Economic Literacy

Economic literacy comes from an understanding of how markets work, how economic trends shape job opportunities, how businesses succeed and grow, how goods and services are produced and exchanged, and how money flows through the economy.

“Economic literacy” refers to general knowledge about economic markets from the perspective of workers, consumers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs, community volunteers and active citizens. Students build economic literacy through experiences that expose them to the type of analytical thinking used in economic analysis and to the general knowledge that underlies economic literacy. Experiences can include:

  • Looking at history through the lens of economic and social change;
  • Studying geography, government and civic awareness;
  • Learning concepts and vocabulary that underlie economic literacy, including competition, markets, income, interest rates and entrepreneurship.
  • Learning about the different sectors and institutions that interplay in the economy — businesses, consumers, government, financial institutions, labor unions and nonprofit organizations;
  • Learning about how the role of government in the economy has evolved over time, as well as understanding different perspectives about the role of government in the economy;
  • Having a variety of experiences in finding, analyzing, presenting and talking about data;
  • Drawing flowcharts or other models to learn how to apply analytical, “cause-and-effect” thinking to economic issues;
  • Participating in in-depth classes, workshops and events about topics of immediate interest – particularly jobs and careers, entrepreneurship and personal financial literacy.

Examples of experiences that build economic literacy skills include:

  • Working with a nonprofit organization that helps local growers to achieve and sustain economic success through marketing and technical assistance.
  • Working with a local museum on projects related to local economic history.
  • Writing business plans and starting small businesses through entrepreneurship programs.
  • As a marketing intern, learning marketing skills such as identifying the target market and creating a marketing profile.
  • As an intern in a restaurant, working with the restaurant manager to prepare marketing materials and to survey customers about food and dining experience.
  • As a small business intern, learning to understand all aspects of a small business, including assisting customers, placing orders, handling all transactions and sales, taking inventory, pricing, and learning the financial cycle of a retail store.