Economics 101: Dana’s newest course offering

One of Dana Hall’s newest courses, Economics, will be offered during the 2015-2016 school year. The course will rotate annually with the Political Science class and will be taught by Social Studies teacher Brian Cook. Eric Goodson, Head of the Social Studies Department, states that a main motive for creating the course was student demand.

Mr. Goodson explained that when Dana Hall ran on a semester system, political science and economics were taught in two separate semesters. When the trimester system was implemented, the two courses combined, and political science was taught for six months and economics was taught for three months. Students have requested a longer teaching period focused on economics.

Jessica Hunnewell ’16 is interested in taking the economics course, noting, “I am intrigued by this course, because I think it’s an incredible opportunity to be able to take economics in high school. Economics is an important subject, and I think it would really help with propelling my interest in a career in business or finance in the future.”

Mr. Cook also notes the importance of economics itself, pointing out that economics is the study of how individuals in a society decide to distribute scarce resources and goods. He says that the study of economics is how people make decisions of what to do with the stuff they have, “‘stuff’ meaning, anything from a dollar in their pocket, a barrel of oil or even intellectual capital.” He explains that economics is also how societies determine how to make different choices. “Economics is a lot more than just money, markets and finance… That’s all part of it, but there’s a lot more to it as well,” says Mr. Cook.

Mr. Cook states that “the class will be designed around the premise that you will have an immediate and direct connection with the world you pass through on the way home after school.” Case studies will be a large part of the work, as well as project-based learning. The course will focus on macro and micro theories, what he calls “the literature and composition” to every economics course, and will also focus on international economics and behavioral economics. It will also include international economics, which combines micro and macro economics to study problems that are distinctive and unique to a global society, as well as behavioral economics, “which is a new aspect of economics that plays on the edge of economics and psychology.” It focuses on both group and individual decision-making of an individual.

Sophia Cofelice ’16, who also expresses an interest in the course, states, “I am very excited that there will be an economics course offered this year. I am thinking about majoring in business, and by taking this course, I believe it will help in making a smoother transition to a business major. It is very common that when people take an economics course in high school, they do better in the economics course they take in college.”

Some students are concerned that the economics course will overshadow the popular political science course. Mr. 
Cook reassures these students that, although the course will not necessarily address issues in political science, many economic questions are in fact political. He explains that “when you are examining the behavior of government in the market place, that’s a political question as well as an economics question, in the same way that many political questions are also economic ones.”

Mr. Cook and Mr. Goodson both agree that “this will be an exciting course, and that there is a lot to learn.”

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