Header image

Fund for Teachers Journey: Market Economics in Ecuador

  • Date

  • Author

    Sarah Norris

Matt Hicks, Katie Woodbridge, Toni Sulmers, and Kara Morrison teach at Winnona Park Elementary School in Decatur, GA. They were among the 2017 class of EL Education's Fund for Teachers (FFT) Fellows. Read more about FFT and what this long partnership has meant for EL Education here

What did they set out to do?

Interview craftspeople, farmers, and entrepreneurs in Otavalo, Ecuador, to develop a case study documenting the stages of production of various goods and create a non-fiction book and other resources to enliven economics and model primary source research.

Toni Ecuador

Reflections from Matt:

This trip to Ecuador helped me better understand how a true market economy helps to sustain an entire community. Producers use natural resources and materials that are available to them to create goods that are sold in the market. The people in the market not only work to sell their goods, but they also help each other. Taking Spanish classes in another country was an amazing experience. Although I am not fluent, I am able to better understand Spanish and can have small conversations.

Read much more about Matt’s experience here

Reflections from Kara:

My team is writing a book together about the economy and entrepreneurship in Otavalo, Ecuador. We will also plan together how we will use this book to model non-fiction writing and how we will use our experiences interviewing craftspeople about the creation and marketing of their products to guide students as they create products for market day.

Read much more about Kara’s experience here.  

Reflections from Toni:

I hope that my students will leave with a deeper appreciation for native cultures and the unique issues that affect them, not just in the United States, but all over the world. They have already learned about native cultures here in the USA, but as they learn about Ecuadorian native cultures, I hope they will make connections that can reinforce the importance of honoring and respecting these culture and traditions.

Read much more about Toni’s experience here.

Reflections from Katie:

When I set out to teach the third grade economics standards, I had a definite gap in my knowledge of living in a market economy where bartering, trading, and using natural resources and manual labor in entrepreneurship are the norm. Now that I have experienced this type of economy, meeting craftspeople and learning the value of a dollar in this setting, as well as learning about the relationships among producers and consumers, I have filled that void.

Read much more about Katie’s experience here.


Teachers: ready to think about your own funded learning adventure? Learn more about the Fund for Teachers application here!