RC teacher recognized for creative approach in teaching economics

Laura Nelson, a first grade teacher at Jacobson Elementary, selected for 3M Innovative Economic Educator Award

Laura Nelson Photo supplied
Laura Nelson
Photo supplied

A first grade teacher in Rush City is about to be formally recognized for her creative approach in teaching economics to her young students.

Laura Nelson, of Jacobson Elementary, will receive the 3M Innovative Economic Educator Award at the Minnesota Council on Economic Education’s annual EconFest celebration Nov. 7 at the General Mills World Headquarters in Golden Valley, Minn.

Nelson will receive the second place award in the elementary division. The honor recognizes educators who create lessons that approach the teaching of economics with creativity at the elementary and secondary levels. In selecting the winning entries, judges considered innovation in approach, emphasis on basic economic concepts, ease of replication and assessment of student learning.

When asked about her award-winning lesson, Nelson said she took a class, “Using Children’s Literature to Teach Economics,” that had her look at the economics standards and learn about ways she could use children’s books to teach the standards.

One of the class requirements, she continued, was to create a lesson plan based on one of the economics standards at the grade level she and others who took the class taught and implement it as a lesson plan in their classrooms.

“The lesson I created for first grade is based on the economics standard of scarcity,” Nelson said. “I used the children’s book, ‘A Chair for My Mother,’ as the literature piece. The lessons we developed were then turned into the Minnesota Economics Council who give out awards for first and second place lessons.

“It was a very nice surprise to hear that my lesson won second place. I learned a lot in the class and got many resources and ideas for how to teach the economics standards. I feel having a beginning understanding of economics at even a young age is very important,” she added.

Nelson will receive $500 during the award ceremony for her achievement.

“One of the most effective ways to increase student understanding of economic principles is to make economics and personal financial decision-making skills come alive in the classroom,” said MCEE Executive Director Donald Liu. “Every year, hundreds of Minnesota educators are doing just that. We look forward to recognizing their achievements and the imaginative teaching of Ms. Nelson at our event celebrating teaching excellence and innovation.”

MCEE is a nonprofit organization housed at the University of Minnesota with a mission to provide Minnesotans with the economic and financial understanding they need to function effectively in a complex, global environment. MCEE’s primary outreach to Minnesotans is through teachers and students.

The 3M Foundation has sponsored the 3M Innovative Educator Awards Program since 1975.

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