Parents and kids are spending a lot of time learning at home these days. Wednesdays can be a problem in some schools’ “AB” schedules. But here’s an exciting way for parents and kids to learn economics at home — Home Front Economics!

Each video introduces an economic topic and then invites you to pause the playback and explore something in your home together. Then hit “play” again and see the wrapup that reinforces economic content.

On each video we have two elementary schoolkids and two economic educators modeling the activity. Running time is 5 to 10 minutes. Exploration can take you as far as you’d like.

Here’s the first one — have a look!

Michaela Minore and Cesar Gonzalez have won the top prize statewide in economic education competition for a project developed at Skyline Middle School.

In “Career and Personal Finance (Online Learning Modules),” students explored potential future paths, the education and skills needed for each path and the financial rewards.

The prize carries a $1,000 cash award and will be formally presented by the competition’s sponsor, the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

“This project did a great job of helping students see alternative futures,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the JMU Center for Economic Education, which conducts teacher training in economics and personal finance locally.

Minore and Gonzalez collaborated to produce and deliver both English and Spanish language versions of the project.

Second prize statewide was also won by a local entry, an in-school project by the third grade team at Bluestone Elementary School in Harrisonburg.

In “Third Grade Scarf Factory,” students worked to make and sell scarves for a good cause in a two-week cross-curricular service learning project.

The third grade team members were Eileen Hernon, Kimberly Boronat-Garcia, Peyton Erb, Sarah Rodgers, Laurissa Kennedy, Ashley Switzer and Erica Park.

Local winners were recognized at a meeting of the Rotary Club on October 5.

“These prizes are a tribute to the quality and hard work of our local teachers,” said John Kruggel, associate director for program of the JMU center. “We have about 1.4 percent of Virginia’s teachers in our service area, but they swept the top two places in state competition.”

An earlier round of local competition was sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce and Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc.

In local competition across all grade levels, the grand prize went to Louise Pierson of Elkton Middle School for “The City of Ember: Where Do They Go from Here?” In Pierson’s project, students created strategies for a fictional future society’s resource choices while studying Jeanne Duprau’s dystopian future novel The City of Ember.

The reserve grand prize locally went to Bluestone’s third grade scarf factory.

Locally, first prize for grades K-2 was won by Kendyl Connifey and Mariela Formiconi of Bluestone Elementary School for “Needs and Wants and Helping Others.” In their project, kindergarten students used a hot chocolate stand to learn about needs, wants and economic decision making.

Second prize locally for grades K-2 was won by Michelle Hunt of Smithland Elementary School. Hunt’s “Bread and Butter for a Cause” applied students’ economic learning to help the animals at the SPCA.

First prize for grades 3-5 locally was won by Tammy May of Lacey Spring Elementary School for “Principal’s Kindness Ambassadors Working to Make a Difference: Earning, Saving, and Serving.” In May’s project, a healthy snack cart helped elementary students learn about kindness as they worked to purchase gifts for the children at St. Jude’s Hospital.

Second prize for grades 3-5 was won by Tyler Orebaugh of Plains Elementary School for his “Virtual Career Day for Students of Rockingham County Schools.

Third prize for grades 3-5 went to Carrie Guiterrez of Spotswood Elementary School for “Camp Wonder,” a 10-week club in which students created an economy of their own, learning important lessons about markets and trade.

In the middle school division, there were two local winners:

  • Callie Randolph of Skyline Middle School won first prize for “Get a Rolling Start to Your Food Truck!” For Randolph’s project, students focused their management, literacy and life skills on a food truck business.
  • Leah Barker of Thomas Harrison Middle School won second prize for “Entrepreneurs Business Plan ,” a project teaching the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy while helping students explore business plans.

In the high school division, there were three local winners:

  • A school-wide team at Turner Ashby High School won first place with “Cashing in on Each Other with TempTAtions Coffee.” In this project, coffee lovers and students of different abilities across Turner Ashby High school benefited from activities centered on a weekly a la carte café.
  • Julie Cassetta of Spotswood High School won second place with “SHS 9th Grade Day on the Job,” a job shadowing activity that gave ninth-graders a close-up look at the world of work.
  • Ryne Powell of Spotswood High School won third place for “Centered L,” a sign-making activity that anchored explorations into business, entrepreneurship and economic decision-making.

Virginia is a national leader in economics and personal finance education, having adopted a required class for high school graduation beginning with the class of 2015. The economics and personal finance class became a statewide requirement as educators and business leaders came together on the need for economics to help students be better informed citizens and personal finance so that they could take control of their financial futures.

The year-long class in economics and personal finance makes students better informed citizens, consumers and employees. Virginia’s approach recognizes how economics and personal finance are closely connected — unlike the approach of other states that require only economics or personal finance but not both. The Virginia approach also recognizes the importance of devoting an entire course to these subjects, instead of embedding them in other classes where they may be neglected.

Emma Goehner, a 10th grader at Blue Ridge Christian High School, won first place in the statewide high school division of the InvestWrite Competition in the Spring of 2019 for her essay on Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. This contest is the second part of the Stock Market Game™ and InvestWrite® competition and is administered by the Virginia Council on Economic Education each year. Emma traveled to Richmond for an awards luncheon hosted by the Richmond Federal Reserve on the 23rd floor. She was also honored locally at James Madison University, where all of the regional recipients were honored. See the full story on Emma.