Make Economics Engaging!
Are your students finding economics to be dry or boring despite your best efforts? The answer may well be to incorporate some feature film activities into your curriculum -- movies that illustrate economic concepts, challenges, and issues with the kind of real-world examples that students can relate to. The trouble is, it's not easy to find great economics movies -- but this one really hits the mark on target! And with these movie worksheets, you can hold students accountable for the class time you devote to the movie!
The PDF files included in this zip download contain over a hundred unique questions for students to ponder and answer as they watch the Michael Moore documentary film "Capitalism: A Love Story."
About the Movie:
The title of "Capitalism: A Love Story" is ironic as the film presents a critical view of capitalism, particularly with regard to the financial crash of 2007-2008 and the growing income gap that has been developing over the course of 30+ years. The movie can serve as a potent discussion-starter among students and can also help teachers to provide some balance in their classrooms -- for if your high school economics text is anything like mine, it tends to present a hyper-positive view of the free enterprise system. The reality of a modern national economy, of course, is far more nuanced.
Showing the Movie
The materials that follow are divided into three sections that match the beginning, middle, and ending portions of the film. The sections are divided so that teachers should have ample time during a 60-minute class period to show the relevant portion of the movie and then also correct/debrief/discuss the questions the students completed while the movie was playing. All questions are presented in "movie order" to facilitate this process. Teachers can alter this scheduling as they see fit, certainly, but if they follow it, they will show about 40 minutes of the movie on Day 1, about 42 minutes on Day 3, and the remainder (less than 30 minutes) on Day 3.
Snapshot of a Day
On any given day, teachers can choose from the "consumable" student pages or the reusable ones, depending if they want to file away a master class to use again in the future. A handy answer sheet is provided for teachers choosing the reusable option. The answer sheet exactly matches the format of the corresponding Quick Correct Answer Key in order to facilitate easy grading of student responses. Teachers who prefer to go over work in collaboration with their students, however, will likely find that the Full Context Answer Key simplifies this process since it has both questions and correct answers all in one place.
What About All Those Small PDF Files?
This master file contains all the program materials in one place so that teachers can easily look them over and make decisions about which options will best suit their classroom environment. However, all the student and teacher materials are also
provided as stand-alone PDF files containing just a single element of the program. These smaller files may be more useful than the master files in some situations:
• A teacher wants to print out just the student answer sheet for Part 2. Instead of finding the right page number in this file and then making sure that print options are set correctly, the teacher can simply open up the Part 2 Student Answer Sheet PDF file and hit print.
• A teacher is in a classroom where electronic delivery of course materials is routine. Emailing or posting the master file is obviously a no-go since in that case, students would have access to the answer keys. Without smaller files, teachers would have to work on splitting up this master file into smaller segments (and this would require PDF editing software, not something everybody has). As things stand, however, the teacher already has all the materials broken out in advance and can email or post, for example, the Part 3 Student Questions -- Consumable PDF file without having to put up with any hassles.
Teaching Economics Using Movies -- More Options!!
I hope that you find Capitalism: A Love Story a useful addition to your economics repertoire! Here are some other worksheets I've developed to go with movies that work well in economics classes:
Hot Coffee Movie Worksheets -- Examine How the American Court System is Under Threat from Big Business!
The Crash of 1929 Worksheets
Movie Worksheets for Capitalism: A Love Story
The Iron Lady Worksheets and Movie Viewing Guide
Economic Lessons that Engage: Free Rider Challenge Scenarios
Frontline Credit Card Video Questions with link to free online video
Frontline Retirement Video Questions with link to free online video
Economics Video Lessons: Rachel Maddow Interviews Paul Krugman with link to free online video
China Transitions to Capitalism: Tiananmen Square Video Questions with link to free online video
Thanks for reading this far and as always, happy teaching!
keywords: capitalism, democratic socialism, recession, depression, economic meltdown, election of Barack Obama, housing crisis, sub-prime mortgage crisis, Wall Street