Friday, November 23, 2012

Silly Stories

In high school I had probably the best maths teacher possible. He was engaging and interesting and did well to set expectations (to the point where I was given the opportunity to teach my class while he was away).

For trigonometry he had a story involving a prince and Gertrude. It started with Pythagoras' therom - getting Gertrude out of a tower surrounded by a moat and ending rather abruptly with Rambo parachuting in all guns blazing. This extended over the span of several weeks - teaching various concepts along the way - including an almighty war cry of "SOHCAHTOA!".

I had a thought this morning:

Snow White seems like the ideal choice for learning economic concepts.

The dwarfs are miners - a special unit that is able to mine in places where others aren't due to their small stature. During rough economic times, the people in the village are no longer able to afford their coal and the dwarfs turn to banditry. Economics has an effect on other social aspects. There's also the supply demand equation.

Snow White takes the path of the Buddha. Having lived in luxury her whole life, she sees the village and realises that she has been isolated from the realities of the kingdom. She sets out on her own and lives with the dwarfs - effectively horribly poor. You could probably do something around passive protest here - Snow White staying out of the fight vs. Snow White attempting to get the village working together to find solutions outside of the structure of taxation. Ice coins in the winter for the village to trade amongst themselves? Kind of a raw look at what money really is - being a token of value to overcome the issues of bartering.

The evil queen would be effectively greedy. While she over taxes people she gives little back and little regard for the people, she is effectively hapless. You could then explore the purpose of tax and it's effectiveness.

There could be a struggle with trading with external partners - importing and exporting. Enter the prince.

This is where my thoughts fail me... how would you end this story? It kind of has to have a happily ever after just to leave students with a positive feeling. Economics isn't really all that scary. I guess there's a bit of development to be had here. But it's a start... Anyone want to chime in?

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