The mission of the Minnesota Council is to provide Minnesotans with the economic and financial understanding they need to function effectively in a complex, global environment.

MCEE > Programs > Teaching Awards and Scholarships > 3M Innovative Econ. Educator Award Winners

3M Innovative Economic Educator Awards
If you would like a copy of any of the following winning submissions, please call the Minnesota Council at 612-625-3727.

2013 Winners
2012 Winners
2011 Winners
2010 Winners
2009 Winners
2008 Winners
2007 Winners
2006 Winners
2005 Winners
2004 Winners
2003 Winners
2002 Winners
2001 Winners
2000 Winners

 

2013 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Stephanie Kramer
Menahga High School
Winning Project: Economics Decision Making and Shopping with the 1902 Sears Roebuck & Co Catalog (PDF)

2nd Place
T.J. Paal
Totino-Grace High School
Winning Project: Promise of Equal Opportunity (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Carl Nowlin
Wilshire Park Elementary
Winning Project: When Life Gives You Lemons...Use Them as a Natural Resources! (PDF)

2nd Place
Laura Nelson
Jacobson Elementary
Winning Project: Scarcity is Not a Scary City (PDF)

2012 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Carol Gutt
Anoka- Hennepin School District
Winning Project: Follow an Ice Cream Cone Around the World (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Jan Williams
Expo for Excellence Elementary Magnet School
Winning Project: The Journey that Saved Curious George (PDF)

2nd Place
Nicole Linscheid
Clarkfield Area Charter School
Winning Project: Lemon Bucks (PDF)

2011 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Martha Rush
Mounds View High School
Winning Project: Buy & Hold? The Risks & Benefits of Stock Ownership (PDF)

2nd Place
Adam Rushmeyer & Richard Spitzner
Melrose and St. James High Schools
Winning Project: Milk Marketing Orders (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Lori Urke
Northfield School of Arts and Technology
Winning Project: Entrepreneurship (PDF)

2nd Place
Sharon Overlien, Kate Sinakhone & Diane Johnston
St. Paul Public Schools
Winning Project: Goods, Services, Consumers, and Producers for Elementary Students (PDF)

2010 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Susan Grant
Stewartville Senior High, Stewartville School District

2nd Place
Jenevieve Rannow
Washburn Senior High School, Minneapolis School District

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Kellie Carlisle
Turtle Lake Elementary, Mounds View School District

2nd Place
Linda Kovach
Elementary Gifted and Talented Specialist, Northfield Public Schools, Northfield School District

2009 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Matt Moore
Sleepy Eye High School

2nd Place
Edward Terry
Randolph High School

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Mary LaBelle
Tanglen Elementary, Hopkins School District

2nd Place
Sharon Looney
Forest Lake Magnet School

2008 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Betsy Nimmo
Edina High School
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

2nd Place
Anne Simmons
St. Mary's High School
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Carolyn Serrano
Northrup Urban Environmental School
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

2nd Place
Lori Urke
Northfield School of Arts and Technology (Artech)
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

2007 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Emily Rosengren
Minnetonka High School
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

2nd Place
Susanne Hollingsworth
St. Paul Open School
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Ann Russ
Sawtooth Mountain Elementary, Grand Marais
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

2nd Place
Michelle Kunz
Homecroft Elementary, St. Paul
Winning Project Submission (PDF)

 

2006 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Jessica Saver
Anoka High School
Economic Challenges: Poverty and Income Distribution (PDF)

2nd Place
Tim Prosen
Cloquet High School
Introducing Broad Social Goals and How Governments Address Them (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Monica Schnobrich
Sawtooth Mountain Elementary, Grand Marais
The Giving Tree: A life lesson about making choices (PDF)

2nd Place
Heather Bovee
Valley Crossing Community School, Woodbury
Increasing Productivity: Lunch Money by Andrew Clements (PDF)

2005 Winners

Secondary School Level

1st Place
Kate Peterson
Farmington Middle School East
Towns of Externalities (PDF)

2nd Place
Anne Pherson
Lakeville High School
Whose Label Is It? (PDF)

Elementary School Level

1st Place
Shannon Hammer
St. Charles Borromeo School, Minneapolis
What's It Worth to Ya? (PDF)

2nd Place
Suzanne Ryan
St. Therese School, Deephaven
Pony Penning Day (PDF)

2004 Winners

High School Level

1st Place
Mark Junod
Tartan High School
Government Intervention in Agricultural Commodity Markets (PDF)

Grade 12. Major concepts: subsidy, price floor, price ceiling, surplus, quota. Students gained an understanding of the effects of subsidies, price floors, and ceilings on the free market system through readings, discussion, and group activities. Students were randomly assigned to groups and each group assigned a commodity. The group assumed the role of Presidential Advisor whose job was to assist farmers producing their commodity. They had to identify three ways for government intervention to protect the farmer. Each group produced graphs that showed how their interventions affected price, quantity, supply, and demand for their commodity.

2nd Place (tie)
Dan Goodrich
Wayzata High School
Making a Life-sized Demand Curve (PDF)

Grade 12. Major concept: demand. This activity was designed to help students understand and apply the concepts of demand, quantity demanded, and changes in demand. Students bid at auction for a hall pass and created a demand curve based on their bids. The demand curve was created on the football field with each student a point on the curve. A rope held by the students created the curve. Students were asked a variety of questions so they could see what happens when demand increases or decreases and to understand what factors influence the change in demand. Back in the classroom the demand curve was graphed on paper. Additional exercises on paper required students to demonstrate their understanding of the new concept by showing shifts in demand based on changes in the market.

2nd Place (tie)
Mary Jo Myers
Hasting High School
The Great Depression: A Simulation in Economic Decision Making (PDF)

Grade 11. Major concepts: scarcity, decision making, opportunity cost, investing, government regulation. Students were given identities from the 1930's based on an occupation and salary and asked to create personal budgets, including making investments, based on their salaries. They were then placed in groups and different scenarios were given to each group. Scenarios included getting married and having children, making a profit in the stock market, losing investments with the crash of the stock market, losing 75% of income with the dust bowl, losing jobs, finding employment for less then previous income, etc. The students created new budgets with each scenario. Students kept journals reporting their decisions and their feelings about the simulation.

Middle School Level

1st Place
Jennifer Carlson
Fridley Junior High
Economic Systems Simulation (PDF)

Grade 7. Major concepts: scarcity, economic systems. In small groups, students were asked to make a product out of newspapers. Each group was instructed to behave in a different way: 1) as a family business, 2) as a factory worker, 3) as a member of a central planning committee, or 4) as an entrepreneur. The groups produced their products and were asked to figure out how they would distribute them. In group discussion the students learned that each group had different instructions and in addressing the issues had responded as command, traditional, or market economies. Further discussion addressed how an economic system shapes a culture.

2003 Winners

High School Level

1st Place
Scott Wolla
Hibbing High School
The Minimum Wage (PDF)

Grade 12. Major concepts: opportunity cost, supply, demand, market systems, equilibrium, price ceiling and floor, surplus, shortage. The objective of this lesson was to enhance the critical thinking skills of students. Students were divided into three groups to debate the topic of increasing the minimum wage. One group supported an increase, one group opposed an increase, and the third group was undecided. The undecided group posed the debate questions of the opposing sides and chose the debate winner. Students conducted research on the topic using teacher-provided information and sources. They were evaluated on their level of preparation and participation in the debate. In addition, students wrote reaction essays commenting on the strongest arguments made in the debate and a summary of their personal views.

2nd Place
Chris Milinovich
Burnsville High School
Social Darwinism and the American Dream (PDF)

Grade 11. Major concepts: market value, income distribution, productivity. This lesson was part of a larger unit on industrialization in a history class. Students addressed the question of whether or not a poor person could become a millionaire in the U.S. today. They learned the theory of Social Darwinism, contrasted and compared writings of Horatio Alger and Andrew Carnegie, and examined Census data on income distribution. The culminating activity was a two-page essay addressing the question, "Is the American Dream a reality today?"

Middle School Level

1st Place
Cindy Truda
Hopkins West Junior High
Which to Hitch? Opportunity Costs and Trade-offs on the Oregon Trail (PDF)

Grade 7. Major concepts: opportunity costs, trade-offs. This unit integrated economics with history and social issues to teach students the economic concepts of opportunity costs and trade-offs. Using computer technology, students were introduced to the history of the Oregon Trail. They then had to make decisions about what they would pack for the trip and what animal would pull the wagon. Student-completed charts demonstrated their understanding of costs and benefits of their choices. In the evaluation component, students wrote letters to friends identifying the hardships they encountered, items they took with them, and examples of the opportunity costs of making the journey.

2nd Place
Sarah Sampson
Hopkins North Junior High
Living on a Reasonable Income (PDF)

Grade 9. Major concepts: scarcity, competition, market economy, interest, fiscal policy, supply and demand. Students were introduced to the real-world issue of living on their first income. They were given a base salary and required to budget after taxes for an apartment, transportation, and monthly expenses such as food, health care, and entertainment. Students researched newspapers and the Internet to determine the costs of these goods and services. Students were evaluated on the economic concepts by a multiple-choice test, and their budgets were evaluated based on the expense estimates they included based on their research.

2002 Winners

Secondary Level

Bill Mittlefehldt
Anoka High School, Anoka
Competing: Minnesota in the Global Economy

Grade 12. Major concepts: markets, comparative advantage, specialization, productivity, investment, capital formation. How to improve Minnesota's comparative advantage in the global marketplace was the focus of this culminating unit. Students defined one of the state's economic problems. Using their economic knowledge from the class they proposed solutions that were cost-effective and consistent with Minnesota's stated economic development goals. Collaboration with community business partners helped students develop data and perspectives for their solutions. The best proposals were selected for presentation to a panel of government leaders at the State Capitol. Presentations included topics such as improving environmental quality, growing venture capital for Minnesota entrepreneurs, and decreasing energy costs. Assessment of learning paid attention to diverse learning styles. Students shared observations, performed songs and skits that demonstrated economic concepts and principles, wrote essays, and completed tests.

Bernice Nelson
Dakota County Juvenile Services Center, Hastings
The Roaring Twenties from an Economic Perspective

High School Equivalent. Major concepts: choices, incentive, cost, benefit, risk, unanticipated consequences. This unit was designed to teach basic economic concepts by using terms familiar and relevant to the lives of students in a correctional facility. Students researched several inventors, writers, and political activists, including luminaries such as Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Stanton. After reading their biographies, students completed assignments identifying motivating incentives, benefits realized from choices made, costs of those choices, and risks taken to accomplish their goals. Post-test essays and worksheets indicated that students were able to identify and apply economic concepts to the life of a historical figure. Student discussions showed that students were able to make connections to their own lives, as well.

Elementary Level

Jodi Glazier, Angie McGinnis, & Patty Novak
John F. Kennedy Elementary, Hastings
Hot Stop Kennedy Shop

Grade 4. Major concepts: production, supply and demand, costs, profit. This project integrated language arts, math, social studies, and art as students produced and sold items in their own store in a Hastings mall. They began by determining saleable items they could produce, such as holiday cards, tye-dye t-shirts, and cookie jars. Local business owners provided expertise on how to operate a business. Students created advertising and commercials and even attracted coverage from the local newspaper. Prior to the grand opening, students practiced role playing business transactions with an eye on superior customer service. The business was a big success. Students made enough profit to continue the business into 2003 and make a contribution to Hastings Family Service.

2001 Winners

Secondary Level

1st Place
Jeff Wright
John Marshall High School, Rochester
Economics in World Affairs

Grades 10-12. Major concepts: GDP, trade deficit and surplus, absolute advantage, specialization, scarcity, opportunity cost, protectionism, free trade, supply and demand, NAFTA/FTAA, GATT/WTO. In this unit students are introduced to a variety of perspectives regarding the costs and benefits of trade. They learn essential economic terminology and develop informed opinions. Students are involved in projects, debates, and experiments. In one learning activity they assume the role of workers in various sectors of the American economy. In another activity students role-play and create economic relationships among consumers, laborers, foreign government officials, and American business owners. Issues of labor conditions, environmental concerns, and global economic development are examined. Whether through simple observations of where their clothes are made or through analysis of changing employment opportunities, students become comfortable with economic principles and make meaningful connections to their own experiences. Assessment of learning is accomplished with quizzes, evaluation of role-plays, and written work. Students write essays justifying their opinions or perspectives using accurate terminology and statistics.

Elementary Level

1st Place
Nancy Krenner
Valley Crossing Community School, Woodbury
Integrating Economics into the Fifth Grade Curricula

Grade 5. Major concepts: external costs, property rights, ownership. Using a morning meeting to begin the day's activities, students learn new economic vocabulary and share examples that illustrate their understanding. For example, the concept in one lesson is "externalities." Students watch a PowerPoint presentation and identify examples of external costs in a series of photographs. The previous evening's homework assignment includes discussing the concept of externalities with a parent and identifying external costs witnessed throughout the day. Students are asked to find pictures from various web sites showing environments that illustrate external costs. Students are also asked to analyze how property rights may reduce the external costs found in the pictures. Assessment of student comprehension is made through class discussion and written work.

2000 Winners

Secondary Level

1st Place
Sara Paul
Tartan High School, Oakdale
Making Connection: The Tartan Senior Citizens' Prom

Grade 12. Major concepts: scarcity, decision making, demand, incentives, production costs, allocation, entrepreneurship. Through application of economic reasoning, innovation and hard work, 100 economic students hosted an event for senior citizens, consisting of a prom dance, dinner and casino entertainment. A survey of senior citizens determined the nature of the event. Students held a fund raiser and wrote grants so the Prom could be free to all participants. Student committees handled every aspect of planning and carrying out the Prom, including publicity and providing transportation. Cost/benefit analysis helped students make decisions that kept the cost within available resources. The small amount of profit from the Prom was invested in a 12-month CD, which will provide capital for the 2001 Prom. Many senior citizens returned to Tartan High School after the Prom to share with the students their stories of growing up and living through other economic conditions.

2nd Place
Mark Fodness
Bemidji Middle School, Bemidji
The Corporation Project

Grade 7. Major concepts: assets, liabilities, demand, supply, production, consumer, monopoly, profit. Seventh grade classes were divided into corporations consisting of five or six students. Each corporation elected officers, designed a "new" product, applied for a patent, developed a marketing strategy, designed factory production, and other optional activities. The project integrated many disciplines as students worked cooperatively creating scale drawings, video advertising productions, and oral presentations. In the culminating activity each corporation made a presentation that was rated by students, teacher, and invited stockbrokers on the following key categories: product appeal, factory location, blueprints, marketing campaign, expenditure reports, and presentation quality. Trophies and ribbons were awarded to the top-rated corporations. Final grades were based on the corporation's score, each student's self-assessment, and student peer ssessments.

Elementary Level

1st Place
Denise Jorud
Miltona Science Magnet School, Miltona
Starting a Small Business

Grades 5-6. Major concepts: entrepreneurship, markets, profits, supply and demand. In a three-part project, students gained experience and learned the risks associated with entrepreneurship by starting a small business. The three phases consisted of research and development, product production, and marketing. Through collaboration with a local meat market students developed, produced, and marketed their own sausage. The sausage, entered in a tri-state competition, received the prize of reserved champion. A variety of project assessment techniques were used including direct observation during the sausage making process, and more traditional practices such as creating graphs of profits from spreadsheet data, giving oral reports, and keeping student journals.

2nd Place
Mary Tacheny
Franklin Music Magnet School, St. Paul
Modifying Choices & Changes

Grade 1. Major concepts: human capital, productivity, decision making, opportunity costs, entrepreneurship. This project included a major modification of Choices and Changes, a nationally distributed curriculum. Activities were redesigned to make them appropriate for first grade students. Assessment techniques were modified so that students did not have to read or write to demonstrate their knowledge of economic concepts. They used artistic outlets to show their understanding by creating an economics play for parents and by illustrating concepts in pictures. Parents were invited to participate in an after-school session in which students demonstrated their newly acquired skills by teaching a lesson from Choices and Changes.