by Wendy Townley, University Relations
Money and math have long been the at-school and after-school interests of 14-year-old Eva Kammerer, a freshman at South High School in Omaha. Kammerer showed an affinity for studying numbers as a student at Conestoga Elementary School and Marrs Middle School, both math and economic magnet schools in the Omaha Public Schools district.
When Kammerer was a third grader at Conestoga, she was asked to write a brief story to share with the school's kindergarten class. Kammerer chose to write about a fictitious moose who saved money for a new pair of shoes.
The story sat in Kammerer's desk for a few years until she revisited her words this past summer. With help from her mother, Kammerer released Mukluks for Moose earlier this year through the self-publishing website Lulu (www.lulu.com). The children's book is designed to teach students about spending money and affordability.
"I enjoy helping children understand economics," Kammerer said, who previously received an Outstanding Economic Student Award, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Banks-Omaha Branch.
Mukluks for Moose would not have been possible without Kammerer's economic education from two teachers who are also UNO College of Education alumni. Michele Wulff (Conestoga) and Amy Burk (Marrs) taught Kammerer economics, and both have taken courses and attended programs offered by UNO's Center for Economic Education.
"Michele and Amy took ideas from our UNO workshops and made them come alive for their students," said Mary Lynn Reiser, Center for Economic Education. "Eva is an example of what happens when teachers inspire their students to go beyond the basics."
"We teach students the economics of everyday life," said Wulff, who today creates economic curriculum for local educators on behalf of the Federal Reserve Banks-Omaha Branch. "We start with vocabulary lessons and journaling. It's important to give students real-world examples of economics and finances. We don't treat economics as a separate activity or lesson; it's part of the students' entire education. They are immersed in it."
Students in Burk's classroom at Marrs study the stock market and learn how taxes, jobs and home mortgages factor into personal finances.
"The students often make a connection with what we study in the classroom and their parents' spending habits," Burk said. "They understand how a person's take-home pay can determine the kind of car they drive, the kind of home they own."
Upon graduation from college, Kammerer said she hopes to own and operate a vegetarian restaurant.
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