NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED558701
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 236
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3032-6642-3
One Hen: Teaching Elementary-Level Economics for Civic Engagement
Whitlock, Annie McMahon
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
This dissertation is a qualitative case study focused on describing and analyzing the student and teacher experience with One Hen, a project-based learning unit specifically designed to teach civic engagement. In this study I address three questions: 1) Do fifth-grade students' knowledge and skills in economics change after participating in a project-based economics and civic engagement unit in which they run their own social business? If so, how? 2) Do fifth-grade students' knowledge of and beliefs about civic engagement change after participating in a project-based economics and civic engagement unit in which they run their own social business? If so, how? and 3) What are the affordances and constraints of teaching economics and civic engagement using a project-based approach? In order to answer these questions, I drew on many data sources: pre- and post-assessments, student and teacher interviews, field notes and reflective memos, and student work samples. I designed the One Hen unit, a project-based unit for elementary economics that integrates English-Language Arts (ELA) and math. In the unit, fifth-grade students learn about and have the experience running a social business, where they have to design, advertise, and sell a product that addresses a community need. I co-taught the unit in a fifth-grade classroom in a school enrolling a high population of low socio-economic status (SES) and minority students and worked closely with the regular classroom teacher, Lynn. The students' demonstrated a more developed understanding of the economics concepts of revenue, profits, loans, and microfinance after the authentic experiences in the One Hen unit. The project also gave students the opportunity to be civically engaged, as the students chose to focus their social businesses on addressing the problem of child abuse and teenage homelessness in the community. The experience may have contributed to the students' broader view of community problems and increased civic efficacy. The students had a tangible positive impact on their community by donating their social business profits to a local organization constructing a teenage homeless shelter. Also, I examine the affordances and constraints of the project-based approach in the One Hen unit. As co-teachers of the unit, Lynn and I both reported that the lengthy amount of time it took to complete the project and the tendency of the project to overwhelm the curriculum were constraints to project-based learning. However, the benefits of students' meaningful learning, behavioral and civic engagement, and benefits to the community with the project far outweighed the constraints, according to the teachers. The study contributes to our understanding of how students can learn economics for civic engagement, as well as teachers' beliefs about the affordances and constraints of project-based learning. Since No Child Left Behind, social studies instructional time is decreasing, and students from low-SES backgrounds are becoming less civically engaged and efficacious. It is important to examine approaches that can give students meaningful learning opportunities and allow them to engage in their communities that are also feasible for teachers to implement. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A