Teaching Tips from Econ Teachers: Using Backward Design to Lesson Plan

Cats walking backward

Have you ever tried backward design in your lesson planning? Martha Rush recently shared her experience with the method at a Council for Economic Education training program in St. Louis. Learn more about the method here, and share your experiences with us in the comments!

I got back from St. Louis on Sunday after a crash course in writing lessons according to the Council for Economic Education format. You would think I already know everything about this format, but it was interesting to have it dissected and analyzed — and to have to write a lesson using the format with a partner (who I just met) in the course of four days. It was challenging, to say the least.

One of the interesting pieces was that they required us to do “backward design.” We were assigned a topic, then we used the Voluntary National Econ and Personal Finance standards as well as the Common Core math standards to select objectives. The next step after that was to write our assessment. If you’ve never done that, you should try it. It’s hard to write questions when you aren’t sure exactly what/how you will be teaching, but it does push you to think about it.

The project we were working on is called Math in the Real World, so basically we were writing lessons for math teachers to teach concepts like graphing, percentages, ratios and interest through econ applications. My specific topic was credit — my partner and I wrote a lesson to teach compound interest along with credit scores and the real cost of a car loan.