Blending Economics and Technology in Elementary Education

The Skagit Valley Herald visited Bay View Elementary’ s, 5th Grade class two-weeks ago, to see our Growing the Economy with Raspberry Pi, unit in action. The kid’s were thrilled to show-off their new skills. Their teacher, Todd Hausman, was proud to give the students this opportunity to express their enthusiasm for the curriculum. Everyone volunteering at SAVE is grateful for the opportunity to help these students, and to develop a new way which blends learning with fun.

BAY VIEW — Fifth-graders at Bay View Elementary School are gaining an understanding of economics through computers and coding. With help from a large cartoon eyeball, the students in Todd Hausman’s class are learning to use computer code to change colors — making the eye’s pupil, lid and cornea go from green to fuchsia to aqua.

“I like that you get to change it and make it whatever you want,” said 10-year-old Corbin Wenker. “Whenever I can, I’m always practicing.”


Using a small portable computer called a Raspberry Pi, the students will soon learn how to change fonts, sizes and shapes on the websites they create, and learn why aesthetics matter.

“Life is no longer about Word and Excel,” said Jacob Deschenes, who volunteers with Hausman’s class twice a week to help the kids with their projects.

Many students see building a website as a key to their future.

“It helps us learn how to code, in case we need to know as a grown-up for our jobs,” said 11-year-old Emma Herzog. “I’ve always wondered what it’s like to make a website.”

It’s a lesson Deschenes, a Bellingham-based financial adviser, knows all too well.

“When I started my business three years ago … I didn’t have the skills (to make a website),” he said.

[Click to read the full story online at the Skagit Valley Herald website]

5th Grade Class Creates with Raspberry Pi at Bay View Elementary

It has been at least 15 years since I entered an elementary classroom, so when I attended my first Growing the Economy with Raspberry Pi, class-unit, it was an eye-opening experience. We arrived during lunch hour, and the classroom was filled with kids on computers. Every desktop in the room was in use and kids were sitting on the floor with their laptops. They were fully engaged exploring the digital world.

The classroom was called back into session and as tech-instructor and SAVE VP, Jacob and I plugged in the Raspberry Pi’s to their electrical source, 5th Grade Teacher and SAVE Board member, Todd Hausman started their Growing the Economy with Raspberry Pi lesson, with a review of what the students recalled from the previous days guest speakers, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.


I was amazed at the depth of their comprehension, as they discussed what a healthy economy looks like. They discussed jobs and taxes. They discussed the ability to support roads, and traffic lights, and schools. They talked about the benefits of price competition vs. monopoly pricing. And yes, they know their teacher Mr. Hausman benefits from more than one drive-thru coffee shop being available on his way to work. They discussed the effects a poor economy could have. Their list included having to move to a different community and not having such a nice school. They understood the Chamber’s place in their community to promote Burlington to new businesses and help their existing businesses. I would like to send a huge shout out to the Burlington Chamber of Commerce speakers. They certainly shared their economic knowledge effectively with this 5th grade classroom.

One economic concept Social Alliance for a Vibrant Economy wants to teach is that we are all in this together. What is good for one enterprise in our community is good for all of us and the opposite holds equally true. This classroom demonstrated a clear understanding of this concept. In the next weeks, they will be creating a website for the local, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, to promote their community. They were excited to go behind the curtain and program their personal addresses to their Raspberry Pi’s as the class continued and had good questions to help develop their understanding of how computer systems work. Did I mention they did not want the lesson to end? Kudos to Jacob Deschenes and Todd Hausman for developing an engaging course that integrates science, technology and economics, to the future of our communities.

Next week they will begin creating their website. It’s exciting to see such enthusiasm and it will be fun to see what these future economists and entrepreneurs come up with.

Lorraine Newman
Board Member, SAVE
Social Alliance for a Vibrant Economy

SAVE Partners with Bay View Elementary School


Mrs.​ ​Lorraine​ ​Newman
℅​ ​SAVE
P.O.Box​ ​29573
Bellingham,​ ​WA​ ​98228

Dear​ ​Mrs.​ ​Newman,

On​ ​behalf​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Burlington-Edison​ ​School​ ​District​ ​and​ ​the​ ​staff​ ​of​ ​Bay​ ​View​ ​Elementary,​ ​I would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​personally​ ​thank​ ​you​ ​for​ ​bringing​ ​the​ ​“Growing​ ​the​ ​Economy​ ​with​ ​Raspberry​ ​Pi” curriculum​ ​to​ ​our​ ​school​ ​during​ ​the​ ​2016-17​ ​school​ ​year.​ ​Not​ ​only​ ​did​ ​students​ ​learn​ ​basic economic​ ​principles,​ ​they​ ​were​ ​extremely​ ​proud​ ​of​ ​the​ ​websites​ ​they​ ​developed​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Chamber of​ ​Commerce.


It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​real​ ​privilege​ ​to​ ​partner​ ​with​ ​your​ ​organization.​ ​The​ ​team​ ​of​ ​volunteers​ ​associated​ ​with this​ ​project​ ​went​ ​to​ ​great​ ​lengths​ ​to​ ​promote​ ​student​ ​achievement.​ ​From​ ​working​ ​with​ ​our district’s​ ​technology​ ​department​ ​prior​ ​to​ ​implementation​ ​to​ ​delivering​ ​certificates​ ​of​ ​mastery​ ​at the​ ​end,​ ​there​ ​was​ ​an​ ​obvious​ ​commitment​ ​to​ ​excellence​ ​shared​ ​by​ ​everyone​ ​involved.​ ​We​ ​are very​ ​grateful​ ​Bay​ ​View​ ​students​ ​were​ ​able​ ​to​ ​experience​ ​this​ ​program.

Thank​ ​you​ ​again​ ​for​ ​all​ ​of​ ​your​ ​efforts,​ ​we​ ​wish​ ​the​ ​program​ ​great​ ​success.




Todd​ ​Hausman
Elementary​ ​Teacher
Bay​ ​View​ ​Elementary​ ​School
Burlington,​ ​WA

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