Using Invention Activities to Teach Econometrics

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An invention activity is a teaching technique that involves giving students a difficult substantive problem that cannot be readily solved with any methods they have already learned. The work of Dan Schwartz and colleagues (Schwartz & Bransford, 1998; Schwartz & Martin, 2004), suggests that such activities prepare students to learn the “expert’s solution” better than starting with a lecture on that solution. In this paper, we present six new invention activities appropriate for a college econometrics course. We describe how we introduce each activity, guide students as they work, and wrap up the activity with a short lecture.

Douglas McKee and George Orlov