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The President's Dilemma
Source: Buck Institute of Education | Type: Lesson

Problem Based Lesson: Following increasing oil prices, high inflation and unemployment, the President has asked a Special Task Force of the Council of Economic Advisers to recommend a policy to deal with the crisis without increasing the national debt. Students learn about leading economic indicators and fiscal and monetary policy. Students must consider both supply-side and demand-side options and weigh the costs and benefits of various solutions as they recommend policies. / Put in your shopping basket and check out for the free download. This is a book of 52 pages.




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Great Macro Lesson    June 22, 2009
By: Lee, M
The President's Dilemma was created by the Buck Institute is an excellent introduction to the basic economic concepts students need to know. This lesson follows the same problems-based learning (PBL) approach used by BIE's other free lessons. The advantage that this lesson has is that the topic is extremely timely with what is happening in our economy today.

This lesson provides a great setup to let students understand many of the macro indicators used by economist. They are also exposed to fiscal and monetary policy. Additionally, students will get the concept of opportunity cost and economic choices reinforced through their completion of the problem.

This lesson can be difficult for students, but BIE does a good job of highlighting where the problems might occur so the teacher can be prepared.

Students seem to enjoy working on the same types of problems they see people on TV talking about. I believe this helps increase their motivation to learn complex macro concepts.

The lesson gives many places for the teacher to modify or expand upon the basic benchmark lessons recommended. A teacher can use this lesson to teach most of the fundamentals of macroeconomics (with the notable exception of trade)

This lesson was last updated in 2007 so some of the data is a bit old. Students have a tendency to want to look at more recent data online, which involves more planning on the teacher’s part.

Overall, I feel the President's Dilemma is a great way to give students an introduction to macroeconomics. It allows students to discover economic indicators, fiscal and monetary policy and even reinforce the ideas of aggregate supply and aggregate demand.

VERY HARD LESSON    December 4, 2009
I was trained to use this material and it was extreamly difficult for the Economics teachers to do it. I would't have my students work on a problem that has no answer. This might be appropriate for a very advanced AP Econ class, or maybe upper division Econ in college. It is interesting, and could be valuable, but there is no solution that will work, so the kids could work on it indefinitly. They may learn a lot, or become frustrated and give up. It is an enormous project that should take about a month to do. My advince, don't waste your time. But, if you are super ambitious and your students do well with failure, give it a try.