Kidseconomics® is a line of educational activities developed by the National Research Council (CNR) with the aim of spreading the basic concepts of economic science in primary and secondary schools. Starting from the assumption that the economy is now well present in the daily lives of children and young people, but that it does not appear adequately in the primary school curricula, Kidseconomics ® offers the opportunity to become familiar with a discipline whose rudiments are an essential cultural background for informed and aware citizens.
The heart of the project is an interactive didactic laboratory, aimed above all at students, which will be supported both by training initiatives dedicated to teachers and by a didactic kit for schools.
The Kidseconomics® laboratory addresses the following topics: the market, public goods and the economic cycle. As far as the market is concerned, it illustrates the functioning of an economy based on exchange, how the price of a commodity is determined and how the balance between supply and demand is achieved. With regard to public goods, the workshop shows the function of the State, which through taxation provides the services that citizens need and to which they are entitled. Finally, moving on to the economic cycle, the focus is on savings, investments and consequently on the role of families, banks and businesses.
The workshop uses a playful and interactive approach, in which frontal teaching alternates with moments of play that facilitate understanding and stimulate participation. The didactic part, which provides for debate with and between students, introduces the concepts that are put into practice in the games, which, in fact, simulate buying and selling, the achievement of the balance between supply and demand, the function of the State, which with the proceeds of taxes guarantees the supply of public goods, as well as the overall cycle of the economy, with the entry into the scene of savers, investors, banks and businesses. Each laboratory, which lasts a minimum of two hours and a maximum of four, is held in the classroom by CNR experts or suitably trained personnel, always supported by the teachers in charge of the class. The teaching material is provided by the CNR, while the school is asked to provide a Multimedia Interactive Whiteboard or a projector.
Kidseconomics® is a registered trademark. As part of the school activities carried out by the CNR Institutes and Offices, the project is presented and proposed to teachers and school leaders. Further information can be obtained from a special website, linked to the institutional portal of the CNR, as well as to the websites of the other educational projects of the Office of Communication, Information and URP of the CNR itself. Kidseconomics® is sponsored by the Regional School Offices, Municipalities and Chambers of Commerce of the cities concerned. The local media - press and radio-television - are also made aware of this and are invited to resume and comment on the activities whenever possible. Finally, it is planned to create promotional video pills to be conveyed through the institutional channels of the CNR: WEBTV, Institutional Portal and Social Pages.
During a complex experimentation phase (2014-2016), the laboratory was successfully presented in various contexts. First, in the schools of three pilot cities: Genoa, Naples and Turin. In particular, the workshop was held at several classes of the following primary schools: Perasso, Duca Degli Abruzzi, Guglielmo Marconi and XII October (Genoa); Edmondo De Amicis and San Paolo di Tarso (Naples); Naso (Turin). Kidseconomics® has also taken part in events such as La Storia in Piazza (Genoa, 16-19 April 2015) and Festival della Scienza (Genoa, 22 October-1 November 2015). Overall, it is estimated that so far the activities have involved about 3,000 students. By virtue of a special agreement, Kidseconomics® has been included in the programmes of the Department of Economics of the University of Genoa since the 2016/2017 school year. Included among the integrative activities, the project thus availed itself of the collaboration of the students enrolled in the second year, who, adequately trained, assisted the staff of the CNR in carrying out the activities, thus benefiting from a fruitful experience as scientific animators.
DEVELOPMENTS AND RESOURCES
We hope that Kidseconomics® will spread nationwide. To this end, human and financial resources must be increased. First of all, by extending the collaboration with the University Departments of Economics, so as to involve a growing number of members, who, following the example of Genoa, will support the CNR staff in carrying out the laboratories. Other human resources may come from the volunteers of the civil service. Starting from the school year 2017/2018, Kidseconomics® is included among the projects of Alternating School Work promoted by the CNR, so as to be able to use also the pupils of the Secondary Schools as junior scientific animators.
It is also extremely important to have access to public and/or private funding, which allows to remunerate real scientific animators and to further develop the project in two main directions: teacher training and the creation of a teaching kit for schools. Kidseconomics® will also be part of the economic and financial education activities that the Ministry of Education, University and Research will be promoting in collaboration with the Bank of Italy and other bodies for the benefit of schools from 2014.
As part of the Science in a box and The CNR goes to school projects, Kidseconomics® has been developed by three CNR bodies: the Institute for Research on Sustainable Economic Growth (IRCrES), the Institute for Studies on Mediterranean Societies and the Information and Urp Communication Office of the CNR General Management - Genoa office.
Communication, Information and Urp Office
Through the conception, design and implementation of scientific exhibitions, exhibits, educational workshops and cultural events, the Office develops initiatives to outreach, disseminate and enhance the knowledge gained within the institution, in order to attract young people to the scientific disciplines, provide citizens with tools to get closer to the results of research and raise public awareness about the importance and role of science.
ISSM - Institute for Studies on Mediterranean Societies
Through a multidisciplinary approach, the Institute studies the dynamics and nature of growth and development processes in Mediterranean countries to provide interpretative theories of phenomena, projections on future scenarios and policy guidelines to support government interventions to reduce imbalances and stimulate growth in the area.
IRCrES - Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth
The Institute studies applied economics and business. The most consolidated research topics concern innovation, the Italian and European industrial structure, territorial development, the study and evaluation of public, national and regional policies, with particular reference to their effects on the environment and the cultural system.
Scientific conception and planning
Maurizio Lupo, Luca Balletti, Serena Borgiani
Design and coordinated image
Web and media
Alix Of Maio
Realization of prototypes
Manuele Gargano, Filippo Novara, Alberto Ravazzolo
They have collaborated in the experimentation:
Elena Santanera, Cnr - IRCrES
Gabriella Paradisi, teacher at the Duca degli Abruzzi Primary School (Genoa)
Marina di Benedetto, teacher of Perasso Primary School (Genoa)
Claudio Fasce, Professor of Primary School Guglielmo Marconi (Genoa)
For further information:
Luca Balletti and Cecilia Tria
Cnr Communication, Information and Urp Office
Operational Section Scientific Communication Area, Genoa office 010 6598787
Cnr Institute for Studies on Mediterranean Societies