Center for Economic Education

The Center for Economic Education is located in the Department of Economics at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The center is an affiliate of the Minnesota Council on Economic Education (MCEE) and the Council on Economic Education (CEE), formerly known as the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE).

The major goal of the Minnesota State Mankato Center for Economic Education is to organize, develop, and conduct economic education activities designed to bring about a better understanding of our economic system consistent with the need to make rational judgments and sound decisions. The ultimate aim is the development of a well-informed and economically literate citizenry. An eloquent discussion on the importance of economic literacy has been put forth in several papers in the December 1998 issue of the Region magazine published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

To accomplish its goals, the Center and MCEE offer in-service and pre-service for-credit workshops, short courses, and traditional courses in the area of economics for K-12 educators. The Center and MCEE also offer a variety of non-credit workshops and programs that appeal to broader audiences. The Center, with the support of MCEE, typically sponsors the Southern Minnesota Economics Challenge, which is an economics quiz bowl for high school students from Southern Minnesota schools. Winning teams then participate in the statewide Economics Challenge conducted and sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. 

For information on the Student CompetitionsUpdates on the Economics Challenge, and Educator Workshops and Webinars, please see below.

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Michael Spencer, Director, Professor of Economics
Phone: 507-389-5325

Student Competitions

More often than not, students don't see how economics and personal finance affect their daily lives; without that context, economics seems unimportant and even less valuable to learn. Our programs for students are designed to change that, giving students the power to explore topics at their own pace and to solve real-world problems.

We provide competitions, research opportunities, curricula, and guidance on how to make economics and personal finance relevant in the classroom. Our student programs are grounded in the belief that students sometimes need an extra boost, something that adds to the classroom experience to really connect the dots of their learning. We'll never replace classroom learning, but we can help reinforce it.

  • Economics Challenge (Gr. 9-12): In the Economics Challenge, teams of high school students compete in a series of tests on economic problems, theory, and current events to demonstrate their critical-thinking abilities. Teams can compete online or at one of our in-person competitions across Minnesota to qualify for our state championship.

  • Global Food Challenge (Gr. 9-12): The Global Food Challenge is a unique competition for high school students, providing an opportunity for students to engage in research about food issues around the world and solve problems using their economic knowledge.

  • Personal Finance Decathlon (Gr. 9-12): The Personal Finance Decathlon is an exciting competition for high school students to practice real-world skills in managing money and solving problems.

  • Poster Contest (Gr. K-8): Economics is often taught using many different examples, some more realistic than others. Unleash your students' creativity, imagination, and talent by competing in the grade K-8 Poster Contest by exploring economic ideas.

  • Rockonomix (Gr. 6-12): Economics is often taught using many different examples, some more realistic than others. Rockonomix helps teachers encourage grade 6-12 student creativity and imagination in exploring economic ideas.

More information on student competitions

Competition Teacher Professional Development Opportunities:




Econ Challenges

Help your students connect economics to everyday life with this fun virtual competition! The Economics Challenge is a FREE capstone experience testing students in grades 9-12 to apply classroom learning on economic topics: macroeconomics, microeconomics, and international economics/current events. This year the Southwest Regional Economics Challenge will be held at MSU-Mankato on April 5, 2024.
  • Cash Prizes
  • Virtual Format
  • Involve your entire class
  • Choose your competition date
  • 35-minute Regional Test
  • New teachers who have at least one team compete in the competition will receive $200!

Educator Workshops & Webinars

You don't need to be an economist to teach personal finance or economics in the classroom, but it doesn't hurt to have one explain what's going on sometimes. Our programs for teachers help you build content knowledge and confidence in your ability to communicate clearly and effectively with students, engaging them in learning more about the forces shaping the world around them.

We provide curriculum, professional development opportunities, and a supportive community of educators who've been there before to help you provide the best possible lessons and classroom experience for your students.

View all workshops and webinars