Roughly ten years ago, the dean of faculty of Concord Academy asked Mathematics Department faculty Mark Engerman to teach a new math elective on economics. Up until this current school year, Engerman has taught the ensuing course, Advanced Economics, once every semester. This year, the course appears exclusively in the spring semester but is split into two sections to include more students.
Compared to when he first taught the elective, Engerman incorporated more mechanisms to engage students through case studies and presentations. Instead of a typical lecture-based course where the teacher merely tells students about economics, Engerman engages students with a greater mix of uses of class time.
Specifically, Engerman hopes to make math appealing to a broader range of students. To do so, Advanced Economics delves into topics such as globalization, the role of government in the economy, supply and demand, and stock and capital markets. This course allows students to keep math on their transcripts without needing to take calculus or some other traditional math course.
“Within the class, I want students to see the applicability of economics to everyday life. I want to work on writing as well as mathematical skills and help kids develop their critical thinking, writing, and mathematical skills in every way that they can,” Engerman says.
Such applicability and connections to real-life are some of the most interesting parts of the class, as students can bring personal insights and perspectives. On the other hand, some might say that in traditional STEM electives, people bring less of themselves to the classroom.
“Every class, we do ‘Econ in the News’ presentations where students present some economic-related news that connects to real-life events and the economic concepts that we learn. Mark [Engerman] would also often give some really funny and relevant examples during class, which makes this class extra entertaining,” says Cindy Jin ’22.
Economics’ wide range of applications and real-world relevance let the class incorporate many recent events, such as discussing the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This course opens students’ minds and eyes to things they may not have noticed before, making Advanced Economics the perfect math elective for all those interested in continuing their studies in math in a way that is concrete and applicable to their daily lives.
Unfortunately, Advanced Economics will not be offered next year because of Engerman’s retirement. We are all sad to see him leave. Hopefully, this course will be offered again in the future.