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Engaging young learners

The goal of this video is to educate 5-8 year olds on the origin of commodity money through a series of video lessons.

This particular video is the first video that serves as an introduction to this line of content.



As someone who works at the intersection of finance and technology, I found the topic of this mini project's prompt to be very difficult to teach to an audience of 5-8 years old. I struggled to find terms that were exact as I wanted given my existing knowledge of commodity money that would be accessible to this audience. Thankfully, I have two children in this age range and they were enthusiastic guinea pigs for this content.

I wanted to start the lesson with some kind of attention hook. This is similar to the Magic Key of "Use an appealing context." Because this audience probably has some familiarity with their local currency, I wanted to show that while currency can take many unexpected forms, its function as money is consistent. I attempted to accomplish this by first briefly showing United States Dollars, then moving to the somewhat similar Euro currency, and then moving onto Rai Stones and Cowrie Shells as more outlandish forms of currency.

As for the main portion of the lesson, which speaks to the power of money as the most efficient medium of exchange, I tried to use an example scenario that would be somewhat familiar to this audience. By first explaining bartering agricultural products for each other and then moving to bartering agricultural products for money, the lesson follows the well-trodden praxeologic method of exploring commodity money in a simple agricultural context. The actual content of this scenario was selected to be as simple and familiar as possible to this young audience while still being illustrative of the broader points. Having a sense of what milk, eggs, vegetables, and money are the only prerequisites to being able to learn from this lesson's content. These content choices were made in alignment with the Magic Key of "Select the right content for each learner."

Relating this lesson's content and design process to the Module 2 readings, The ARCS model put forth by Keller comes to mind. The attention category of the ARCS model is closely related to the Magic Key of "use an appealing context." As discussed above, this Magic Key was leveraged by including an attention hook at the beginning of the lesson that also primes the learner to access their existing knowledge regarding money.

The relevance category of the ARCS model requires that the educational experience is meaningful and relevant to the learner. In this lesson on the origins of commodity money, I strove to use the first-person pronoun "we" whenever referring to the character who has milk and wishes to acquire eggs. This helps frame the learner as part of the lesson's content and helps make the lesson's content more personally relevant to them.

The confidence category of the ARCS model requires that the lesson's content and delivery enable the learner to have an increased expectation of success. By keeping the example scenario constrained to simple example items that will be familiar to the young learners in the audience for this content, the educational focus remains on learning about the value of commodity money and not on what an "aubergine" or "durian" might be had they been used in place of the more easily understandable "vegetables".

Finally, the satisfaction category of the ARCS model speaks to the learner's motivation to continue learning. By ending the lesson with the same attention-grabbing visuals of the various forms of money that the learners saw at the beginning, it is suggested to them that they learned something that is globally applicable and is probably just a new way of looking at something that they already know how to do - namely, by purchasing goods and services with money, they are bartering in the most efficient way possible.