Posted by: usset001 | June 20, 2011

Commodity Challenge in the classroom

I received an email from a teacher in Ohio concerning Commodity Challenge. I take a number of phone calls from teachers who want to use CC and they want some help in incorporating it into the classroom. This email put into writing the type of questions I field, and my answers outline the potential I envision for CC in the future.

I am an Agricultural Education Teacher in Ohio. I found your website and think it would work awesomely in my ag business classroom. Do you have a lot of ag programs that use the program? Do you have any directions or instructions that I can use with my students? Also, do you have any lessons/lesson plans that go along with the website? Any pointers or tips would be much appreciated and I’d love to use the website to its full potential!

1. Do you have a lot of ag programs that use the program? Yes, we are on track to start over 50 games this year, nearly twice as many as any previous year. It is very popular in the classroom, as it serves as a fun complement to any ag curriculum.

2. Do you have any directions or instructions that I can use with my students? Do you have any lessons/lesson plans that go along with the website? What we have is on the website, but it is my vision that we will make available to teachers a much broader curriculum for use in the classroom. This curriculum will be offered in pieces to allow teachers to teach the most basic of concepts (e.g., What is a futures contract?, How do margins work ? What is the difference between hedging and speculating?, etc.) to very sophisticated pricing tools (e.g. How can I use puts and calls to establish a minimum and maximum price?). The unique part of Commodity Challenge is its use of real time cash prices for grains throughout the country, which allows teachers and students to explore the relationship between cash and futures prices – this understanding is critical to the proper use of futures and options in pricing grain.

3. Any pointers or tips would be much appreciated and I’d love to use the website to its full potential! If your students are new to futures and options, I recommend that you keep the lesson simple. Trade one grain (not three) over a set period of time (e.g., two months). Use that time to become familiar with the terms of futures and options trading, learn about the local basis (how your local cash price relates to the futures price) and have some fun with placing orders to buy and sell and track gains and losses. You can also use the game to complement your study of the corn, soybean or wheat market in your area and worldwide. Your question has inspired me to add one more piece to Commodity Challenge; a section full of tips and tricks for the classroom leader.


Responses

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