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Hot Topics


Even with the best curriculum a teacher occasionally needs to shake things up. FTE Hot Topic lessons are timely discussion lessons that help students apply economics reasoning to stories from current events.  FTE’s 5 Economics Reasoning Proposition provide the intellectual framework for each Hot Topic.  By using this framework teachers can give students the tools they need to build an understanding of their world and the current events happening around them.

Each Hot Topic lesson comes with a teacher guide and includes answer guides and supplement resources.  Each lesson utilizes FTE resources, articles or video clips, and other media in an easy to use format.

Although some topics may no longer seem “hot”, the application of economics reasoning is timeless.

Should you have suggestions for topics, email FTE at information@FTE.org.



Hot Topic: The US Airline Industry…Fight or Flight!?

By Greg Caskey, January 2018 Use this Hot Topic in the classroom!  Teacher and Student Guides. “It’s time to level the flying field. Spread the word to help enforce Open Skies trade agreements and protect the future of US aviation and American Jobs.” #OurFutureOurFight  …

The Streamin’ Blues

What's not to like about streaming? The music you want, wherever and whenever you want. Sounds good! But does your favorite artist think so?

Hot Topic: In a Pickle

"You're kidding me?!" That's what the Alaska food bank director said when Feeding America sent her a semi full of 5 gallon buckets of pickles! Learn how the economic way of thinking helped a charity sell its way out of a pickle.

Hot Topic: Immigration 2016 !

The tools of economic reasoning can bring some much-needed critical thinking to the heated political debate over immigration policy.

Hot Topic: Ubernomics

In 4 short years, Uber brought down the taxi kings of New York City. Students examine data from medallion sales and ride sharing services, and then identify the incentives and institutions that first closed the taxi market in 1937 and then flooded it with…

Hot Topic: It’s All In the Bag!

In the Bag! uses the economic way of thinking to investigate luxury markets, focusing on how firms like Hermès, Ferrari, and many elite universities use market power to restrict quantity supplied and keep prices high.

UPDATE – Target: Big Game Hunting

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the African lion to the Endangered Species List. Should wildlife lovers celebrate or cry? Review the economic reasoning tools you learned in "Target: Trophy Hunting" to decide whether this latest development…

Hot Topic: Sun Burn?

Just in time for the Paris Conference on Climate Change! "Sun Burn?: Paying the Bill for Solar Energy" uses the economic way of thinking to examine and evaluate the rules of the game that shape development of solar energy in the United States. In this…

Hot Topic: Gas Prices ?!?

Moaning about the rising price of oil and gasoline has become part of our daily routine. We expect rising gas prices because . . . . Well, because, in our experience, that’s what gas prices do. But then, they didn't! The price of gasoline began falling…

Hot Topic: Chocapocalypse?!

The potential for a “chocapocalypse” isn’t just advertising hype. Take a walk through the store and check out the price of chocolate. The boxes and bags – and even good old chocolate chips – are pretty pricey. (And, just sayin', chocolate chip…

Hot Topic: Running Scared – Children Crossing the Border

  Fall, 2014 (reposted Dec., 2015) Estimates of the number of unaccompanied children who tried to cross the border into the United States in 2014 range from 60,000 to 80,000. The flood slowed somewhat in 2015 but it still hasn’t stopped. Most of the…

Hot Topic: Captain Phillips: Pirate Economics

Economics in the movies! Ripped from the big screen just in time for Halloween! Check out "Captain Phillips: Pirate Economics." Our latest hot topic uses the economic way of thinking (ERPs #1&2) to explain how getting in a tiny fishing boat and traveling…

Hot Topic: Why Is There Corn In Your Coke? (April, 2013)

LearnLiberty, a project of the Institute for Humane Studies (a non-profit dedicated to "learning about the ideas of a free society" ) has generously invited the FTE to use their videos in lessons on economic reasoning. The provocatively titled "Why Is There…

Economic Reasoning & Immigration (March 2013)

Immigration reform is front and center in the news and emotions are high. It's 'hot." It's also the first in our new series of Hot Topics in partnership with Gooru Learning. Check out our new Hot Topic blended learning format. FTE - Gooru Hot Topics provide…

Institutions Matter: Experiments in Real Life

We don't usually think of conducting experiments in social science. What would the mad social scientist do - imprison two groups of people in plastic bubble-biomes and use one as the control group while administering different economic or social policies to…