3 ways to make inflation interesting for students

Inflation hit a four-decade high in the United States during September, with the consumer price index up 8.2 percent from a year earlier. While most adults are painfully aware of higher prices for everything from food to fuel, teens may be blissfully ignorant.

There are a few reasons inflation may not feel relevant to teens. If teens aren’t yet working and earning their own money, they’re buying things with their parent’s funds. The cure for inflation is simply to ask mom or dad for more money. Working teens will definitely be feeling the burn of increased prices, but their time horizon tends to be focused on today versus how inflation will impact them decades down the road.

Storytelling can be an effective way for teachers to make topics like inflation relevant to students. Storytelling makes abstract concepts come to life and can help students envision themselves in the story.

Here are three ways storytelling can make a dry topic like inflation interesting.

  1. Make it personal. Most families have stories about how soaring prices are impacting them today or have in the past. Look for these stories and work them into discussions. For example, in the early 1970s, an oil embargo by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) resulted in oil prices jumping 350 percent. Since gas was in short supply, many states rationed gas, often by either limiting the amount consumers could buy or on which days they could gas up. Lines for gas stretched for miles. Waiting for hours for gas will be an interesting concept to teens used to the near-instant gratification available via their cell phones. Alternatively, inflation is causing members of some families today to delay retirement or re-enter the workforce to make ends meet. A discussion about the effect of inflation on seniors and those with fixed incomes will hit home for many teens.Related:
    Why we should be teaching students economic literacy
    Problem-based learning helped boost my underserved students’ engagement

Fred Fransen, CEO, Certell

Fred Fransen is CEO of Certell, the maker of the Poptential™ family of free digital social studies course packages that animate the classroom and create independent thinkers. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought. Fred can be reached at fred@certell.org.

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Tags adults, earning, funds, money, states, storytelling, students, teachers, teens, Time

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