Jan 10 2008

AP and IB Economics: another semester begins

Published by at 8:37 pm under AP Economics,IB Economics,Teaching

It’s been a month since my last post; the longest I’ve gone since starting this blog without writing. My guilt is mounting, although three weeks of skiing in the Pacific Northwest has mitigated the guilt of not blogging somewhat, it’s now time to get back to work!

Here’s what’s coming up in the next quarter in my AP and IB Economics courses. First let’s start with AP:

  • We’re 90% done with the Micro component of the course. Since we do both micro and macro here, the micro component requires about two weeks more than macro, since we teach the “basic economic concepts” unit first thing in the year. For that reason, we’ll carry over into the first week of the 2nd semester to finish up our final unit of micro, which is…
  • Market Failure and the Role of Government. This is my favorite unit in microeconomics, although regretfully it is also the shortest. Only about 12% (6-8 questions) on the AP exam will cover market failure. In this unit we’ll learn about the misallocation of resources that results due to the existence of public goods and externalities (both negative and positive). This unit provides a brief introduction to the broad and quickly developing field of environmental economics. For students interested in learning more about this fascinating field, there’s a great blog written by Tim Haab and John Whitehead, two of America’s leading academic environmental economics, found here.
  • In just a couple of weeks we’ll begin an entirely new course in economics, where we’ll focus on the macro side of the economy. Most of second semester will be spent learning about topics such as inflation, unemployment, economic growth, international trade, the money supply, the federal reserve and other big topics in macroeconomics.
  • The AP exam date is officially set for May 15. All my students will sit for both the micro and the macroeconomics exams on the morning and afternoon of May 15.

Meanwhile, in IB Economics, my eleven higher level students have begun their final unit of this two year course. For the next 9 weeks we will focus our studies on development, including:

  • The sources and consequences of economic growth and development,
  • Barriers to economic development,
  • Strategies for economic development, and
  • the evaluation of economic development strategies.

Around March we’ll wrap up this final unit, and spend the 7 or 8 weeks before our May exam to review the concepts going back to our first IB unit from the beginning of last year, and review all our units up to this point, including:

  • Basic economic principles
  • Microeconomics,
  • Macroeconomics,
  • International Economics, and
  • Development Economics.

Lots of exciting things will be going on in the world of Welker’s Wikinomics this year. In addition to all the topics we’ll be learning in AP and IB Economics, I personally have begun looking forward to the new teaching position I have accepted for the 2008-2009 school year. I’ll be leaving the hustle and bustle of Shanghai behind for the relative tranquility of the Swiss Alps, where I’ll be teaching both IB and AP Economics at Zurich International School next year.

In the mean time, hope you readers stay tuned to this blog, the wiki my students maintain as they progress through their studies, and the student blog, “SAS Economists”, for the latest from the world of AP and IB Economics here at Shanghai American School!

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About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

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