Eek-onomics, Scary Science, and Monster Math

This year, we have decided to combine Economics with STEM and Literacy. We will be using real world activities to try to take the Eek out of Economics, the Scary out of Science, the Terror out of Technology, the Eerie out of Engineering, and the Monster out of Mathematics! Each lesson will start with a hook activity that requires using Economic concepts and Decision-Making. These hooks (movie clips, images, books, maps, artifacts, etc.) will then lead into a real-world STEM question. Each lesson will show how students need to understand Economic Decision Making as part of a real world STEM problem. For the STEM lessons, we will begin with some great examples from CPalms. Please feel free to send us your ideas so we can build this site!

The first lesson is Eek-onomics & Scary Science. Using the trailer from the movie Monsters Inc., students identify a scarcity problem that the monsters have and use scientific inquiry to solve the problem and make a decision.

Eek-onomics and Scary Science: Solve the Monsters’ Energy Crisis!

1) Discuss the movie with the students using some of the following questions: The monsters have a problem. It is harder to scare children; therefore, they are not able to produce enough energy to run their power company. What other sources of energy could they use to run their power plant? What are the costs/benefits of the different sources of energy? For example, compare and contrast renewable energy to other forms of non-renewable (fossil fuels).

2) Then conduct some research on renewable energy. What type of renewable energy would you recommend? Why?

3) After working out the monster’s problem, consider the real world. In this MEA (Model Eliciting Activity) lesson on CPalms, students are faced with a challenge: “Sunny Land Developing is about to develop a new community in Florida. Students are needed to make suggestions for the company’s choice of energy to integrate into the new homes. In this activity, students will review how people use electricity in their daily lives and learn about the differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources. Students will also be introduced to sound energy and how it is measured.” Although this is a third grade lesson, it could easily be adapted to any other grade level. This MEA has an excellent formative and summative evaluation and could be adapted to other grade levels!

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About Deborah Kozdras

Instructor and Chief Creative Officer at the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education at the University of South Florida.
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