Activities to Teach Economics

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    Teaching Demand Curve

    • Bring drinks such as ice-cold soft drinks, hot coffee or hot chocolate per day. Students can be asked to bid how much they are willing to pay for these drinks. On a hot day, it is expected that more students would bid for the cold soft drinks, while on a cold day they might bid more for the hot drinks. Tabulating and graphing the data can demonstrate the demand curve for these drinks depending upon the weather. This simple activity can be an effective launching point to make students realize the nature of the demand curve.

    Teaching Marginal Utility

    • Students can be asked to rate their current state of well-being from 0 to 100, then give them chocolates one by one. After each chocolate serving, ask them to rate their well-being. By tabulating and graphing their state of well-being, it can be demonstrated that the initial serving provides the highest utility, while subsequent servings will provide lower levels of well-being. At some point, additional servings will not provide any increase in well-being at all.

    Teaching Money as Medium of Exchange

    • Students will role play as traders who trade and consume specific items. In the first scenario, the items traded and required by each student can be provided by the other students in a case of double-coincidence. In the next scenario, the items the students trade and consume cannot be directly provided by the other direct traders, and they have to trade several items before getting what they need. Through this activity where trading is necessary to get what the student needs, an item or a product will naturally become a form of "money," where it will be the basis of several trades to determine the value of the items they have through trading. This activity will show that money naturally emerges as a medium of exchange to overcome issues posed by bartering.

    Online Market Games

    • Students can be grouped to play online market games. Some market games allow students to invest in an online portfolio based on actual stock market data using a given amount of hypothetical money. Since they are using actual stock values, they can see how they can apply what they learned in financial concepts in a realistic setting. This will also require the students to keep track of economic news so that they can make better stock market decisions. Some online games allow groups of players to compete with each other. In this activity students will see how "real" economics work in the world outside of the classroom, giving them better understanding of the subject.

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