Economics Mr. Shears
Course Expectations Oak Ridge High School
Rationale (Why Economics?)
Economics is and will continue to be a part of everyone's life, whether they realize it or not. We all live within an economic system that shapes the most fundamental patterns of our lives: how we work, play, learn, buy, plan for the future, and think about the world around us. As consumers and workers, we are (will be) making economic decisions everyday. This course will enable you to learn how individuals, businesses, and government make decisions in our economy. As you become familiar with the language of economics and analyze various economic models (and the assumptions on which they are based), you will be able to make wiser and more informed individual and social decisions in the future.
This course will deepen your understanding of the economic problems and institutions of the nation and the world in which you live. A strong emphasis will be placed upon the basic concepts, language and skills needed to understand the economic world and how they interrelate in the various types of economic systems. The course will cover topics in supply and demand, market structure, unemployment, inflation, economic growth, globalization of markets, and comparative economic systems.
* Current Events Materials (student will be responsible for access to any current news publication: Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, Time, Newsweek, etc.)
* three-ring binder/notebook
* pencil or pen
Grades and Class Requirements
Students will earn grades based on their performance of a variety of academic tasks. Grading components are as follows: (% weights are approximate)
Tests/Quizzes (30%): Test and quizzes will be given on a regular basis. Written “essay” tests will be the most common form of assessment. Most of the time, tests and quizzes will be announced well in advance, but don’t rule out the occasional “pop quiz.”
Homework/Writing Assignments (15%): Expect one or two written assignments per week, usually based on some reading from the textbook or other source. Your consistent effort here will have a big impact on your grade!
Projects/In-Class Activities (25%): You will be involved in a number of short- and long-term, individual and cooperative projects throughout the year. More details on these later!
Participation/Contribution (10%): Your ability to participate and contribute in a positive way to the various classroom activities will be graded. See below for more details about what is expected.
Final Exams/Exhibitions (20%): You should expect summary evaluations in the form of “exhibitions” (projects) and/or traditional final exams.
About Late Assignments and “Make-ups”
Student are expected to complete all assignments on time, and I reserve the right NOT to grade unexcused late work. In the event of an excused absence on the scheduled test day, you will have 5 school days to make-up the exam. It is your responsibility to check with the teacher and reschedule the test outside of regular class time.
More About Participation & Contribution Grade
In this class, you will be actively involved in a variety of group activities, class- and small-group discussions, simulations, games, and many other participatory endeavors. To accomplish our goals, we will all need to recognize the value of teamwork, cooperation, and respect.
There are certain standards of behavior that we all need to adhere to in order to make sure that all can succeed. It all comes down to these three basic things:
1. Everyone, including the teacher, will be treated with respect.
2. No purposefully hurtful comments or actions will be tolerated.
3. No one will be allowed to disrupt the learning process of others.
Violation of these general rules indicates that the individual is not participating and contributing in a positive way, and appropriate sanctions (i.e. loss of participation points) will be enforced.
Other Nuts-N-Bolts stuff
*Snacks: Please, finish your food & drinks before you come into the classroom. Gum is O.K. in class.
*Bathroom passes: will be issued at my discretion. (Please take care of it during breaks)
*Tardy policy: excessive tardies (over 2 per grading period) may result in the following:
*deduction of Participation & Contribution points.
*not being allowed to be involved in “Starter” activity
*parent notification and conference
NOTE: Being late back from break will result in loss of break privilege.
* “Off-limit” areas: Generally, you have the run of the classroom, except for my “space”: My desk, filing cabinets, computer equipment and podium are "off-limits" unless otherwise noted.
*X-Credit Options: There will be very little opportunity for extra credit. Students are expected to complete assigned work and not rely on extra credit.
*Dismissal: Mr. Shears (not a bell) will dismiss the class at the appropriate time. The room must be clean and orderly, and students must be in their seats, for my dismissal.
Some Thoughts for the New Year:
*Learning how to ask the significant questions is as important as giving the “right” answers. (Maybe more important!). Sometimes we have to question the answers as well as answer the questions, especially in the study of economics!
*Successful learning depends in large part on the attitude you bring to the classroom. A spirit of enthusiasm, curiosity, and humility will take you far in this class. Are you open to learning?
*Schools have trained us over the years to think of education as “earning points” and “doing the work.” In this class, we will try to focus on the Quality of our thinking and effort, and not so much on the Quantity of things we do or the points we earn.
*We all have the right to learn; we also have the responsibility to not let anything get in the way of learning. Let’s work together at holding each other accountable. Don’t let anyone cheat you out of an education.
*Taking risks is essential for personal growth. Maybe you’ve settled into a rut and are not expecting much out of yourself. Decide to push yourself this semester! It’s amazing what might happen.
*Each day is a “clean slate;” an empty canvas for us to paint on. Seize the Day. I will always be expecting the best out of you, no matter what happened yesterday.
Economics Course Outline:
Unit I: Introduction to Economic Science & Systems (3 weeks)
definitions of economics
economic history & systems
market theory (part 1)
Unit Questions: What is economics and what important questions can it (and can’t it) answer? What are economic systems, and can economic science tell us which economic system is the best?
Unit II: Topics in Microeconomics (4 weeks)
market theory (part 2)
market reality: large-scale industrialized markets
market structures & competition
Unit Questions: What are markets, and how are they presumed to behave in theory? How do markets and businesses behave in the complex reality of today’s economy?
Unit III: Topics in Macroeconomics (6 weeks)
Ch. 8 -17 (selected readings)
traditional macro measurements
traditional macro policies
problems with macro policies
other current issues
Unit Questions: How, traditionally, have economists defined a ‘healthy economy’? What policies has mainstream economics promoted to maintain economic health? What current economic realities are now challenging traditional measures of economic health?
Unit IV: Critical Issues/Alternative Models (4 weeks)
economic development - different perspectives
current dilemmas of modern industrial capitalism
technology & work
the economics of environmental problems
sustainable growth models
Unit Questions: What are the assumptions behind mainstream economic models? Are those assumptions still valid? What are the inherent limitations and distortions of free-market, industrial economies? Are there any viable alternatives?