The Four Lenses

Version 1.0 (September 2020)


As a result of one of the workshops offered here, we have written a series of blogs in which we apply the four lenses to economics.

Why use it?

What we would like to achieve, is that the four lenses, or 4-part framework so you like, becomes part of the IB’s (or any other exam board's) “accepted, well-defined criteria and mark schemes”, so that students are allowed, even encouraged, to use them in the exam’s essay questions. This would be a natural way for teachers to include the doughnut model in their courses, since students would be rewarded for using the four-lenses framework on “evaluate”-type questions.

Who is it for?

(Economics) teachers

How long does it take?

This depends on the topic and the intensity of the discussion.

How many people is it for?

Students can use this tool, after being introduced to it, on their own, in preparation of "evaluate"-type questions.
Alternatively, teachers could use the tool in a classroom conversation.

What materials do you need?

You do not need any particular materials. You can divide your white- or blackboard in four lenses.

What does the facilitator need to know or be able to do?

When you plan to use the four lenses in a classroom conversation, it is adviced to come prepared. We plan to add some dossiers around some examples on our website Should you have any ideas, please let us know.


Many thanks to Jennifer Brandsberg-Engelmann for introducing the tool, reviewing the posts, and making some much appreciated contributions.


In the first blog we want to bring to your attention, we apply the four lenses to (de)merit goods:
In the second blog, we apply the four lenses to economic policy, in our example a subsidy:

We hope the application of the four lenses will benefit you and your students, and we would love to hear your stories.

Summary Image by analogicus from Pixabay 

Who's using this tool?

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