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Posts Tagged ‘graphs’

  1. Tell me a story…

    29 October 2014 by shartley

    Inspired by Cameron Paterson to use images for inspiring thinking processes, to commence the topic of Unemployment for HSC Economics I handed out a different graph from the RBA Chart Pack related to Unemployment and gave students in pairs 15 minutes to tell me a story about what the chart told them.  I said I was looking for drama and climatic turning points.  They then presented their stories to the rest of the class.  The stories won’t win them many points in an Economics HSC Exam but it certainly engaged them in the topic and allowed them to be more creative and think deeply about Unemployment.  The story below is the result of one pair based on the graph pictured above, while not 100% accurate, it demonstrated creative thinking about the graph.  Please note the concluding paragraph was a deliberate ploy to include several English terms.

    Picture this: Australia in 2002-5, a bustling economy struggling to establish itself with the giants of the world against insurmountable odds. The economy had job vacancies higher than the advertisements for these jobs, showing the lack of awareness of these jobs. Never fear though because after 2005 there was a sharp increase in the advertisements for jobs, with only a marginal increase in the job vacancies. At this point in time the advertisements were actually higher than the vacancies, showing the desperate need for awareness regarding job vacancies. PEOPLE WERE CRYING OUT FOR HELP, AND THERE WAS NO WHITE KNIGHT RIDING TO SAVE THEM. This travesty is due to the Global Financial Crisis, which hit Australia at the peak of advertisements shown in the graph, when vacancies were 1% lower than advertisements. In 2008 the vacancy trend was removed completely from the graph. This could be due to the vast amount of vacancies as the GFC hit, causing a substantial outlier in the graph that would affect the average too much. 

    A DARK DAY IN 2009 WHEN the Advertisements nosedived in, after everyone was made redundant as a result of the GFC, and the vacancy of those jobs were no longer available.

    The vacancy trend picked up again in 2010, staying just above the advertisements, and mirroring its trend from 1.5% of the labour force to just above one percent in present day.  A TREMENDOUS VICTORY FOR THE GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS AND THE INDIVIDUALS THAT MAKE UP THE ECONOMY AS A WHOLE. THE WORKING CLASS. THE COUNCIL WORKERS AND THE JOE BLOW FROM FRIENDLY GROCER.

    This is a tremendous story, cohesively highlighting the economical and unemployment  trends experienced by Australia, and allegorically represents a microcosm of an economy experiencing the fluctuation in job vacancies whilst fighting to keep unemployment at a controlled level. 

  2. The Power of Spreadsheets

    14 August 2010 by shartley

    Sal's Sunglasses Spreadsheet

    Following my student teacher’s lesson on break-even analysis I taught Year 11 Business Studies students how to use spreadsheets to play around with the numbers involved.  In a classroom with computers they  carefully,  step by step, followed what I was setting up in a spreadsheet (seen via a data projector):

    • Sal’s Sunglasses
    • Selling price of sunglasses  $10.00
    • Cost of purchasing sunglasses $4.50
    • Cost of purchasing sunglass case $0.50
    • Total cost per unit ?
    • Lease of retail premises $2,000
    • Wages (for proprietor) $800
    • Service fee to retail centre (security, cleaning, electricity) $200
    • Total fixed costs ?

    Through Q & A with the students formulas were chosen for the ? calculations.

    Then I showed how to name a cell and use [F5] to Go To the named cell.  (Consequently there were cells named with all sorts of strange and rude names.)  Officially we had P for price, VC for variable costs (total cost per unit) and FC for fixed costs.

    Then we constructed a table, and I demonstrated how to use series fill for the various quantities of sunglasses that could be sold.  Again students contributed suggestions for formulas to use.  Just one student knew enough about spreadsheets to race ahead (but he hadn’t known about naming cells).

    • Possible quantity of units sold (Q)
    • Price of goods sold (P)
    • Total Revenue (TR)
    • Fixed costs (FC)
    • Variable costs (VC x Q)
    • Total costs (TC)
    • Profit (TR – TC)

    Using the figures supplied the students discovered that the break-even point was when 600 sunglasses were sold.  “That’s a lot”, many of them exclaimed.  “So what should the owner do?” I responded.  Most students said to raise the selling price.  I told them to [F5] “P” and change the price to $15 instead of $10.

    Now up to this point there was a reasonable level of enjoyment from learning to do something different but at this point, when they saw the whole table and thus the break-even point change with the alteration of one cell, they were blown away.  They had grasped the power of spreadsheets.

    Last of all they learnt to construct a graph and label it without relying on automatic selections.  They were determined to make the graph accurate and were able to identify when it wasn’t.  The determination came from understanding there were genuinely good reasons for making a break-even graph.  Many of the students left excited about how they could use break-even analysis in their Business Plan Assessment (due Monday).

    This lesson was a real kick for me and the students.

    Teaching is fun.

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