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Hands-On Activities for Teaching Supply and Demand

written by: Krima Olive Molina • edited by: Kellie Hayden • updated: 9/11/2012

How do you make the students easily absorb the economic concepts of supply and demand? Here are some practical instructional strategies you can use without having to go into a boring lecture mode.

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    Recent journals have been consistently reporting that learning is maximized if the students experience what they are actually reading in their books and hearing from their teachers. Coming up with social studies lesson plans on supply and demand may initially come across as a strategy-limiting task that is confined within the boundaries of lecture. The following are some ideas on how to get the students to actually comprehend supply and demand right inside the room, using their very own possessions as instructional AND learning materials.

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    Peer Market Day

    Within a think-time of two minutes, make the students decide on what their most favorite object inside their bag is. Once time is up, have them lay out their chosen objects on the table. Afterwards, distribute colorful index cards to each student and tell everyone that they are to set a price for the object on their table and write down this price on the cards you just distributed. Launch the Peer Market Day and tell them that for fifteen minutes. Students are to go around the room and look at the prices of the "products" of their classmates. After going around the room, ask these questions:

    1. How many of you are selling the same product? What prices did you set for them?

    2. (To those who have the same products) Now that you found out you have competitors, would you change the price you initially set for your product? Why or why not?

    3. (To those who have different products) Which product will you choose to buy among those who are selling the same stuff? Why?

    4. (To those who have different products) Would you change the prices of your products, now that you found out you are the only ones selling those stuff? Why or why not?

    Using the questions above, transition into a discussion on the concepts of supply and demand.

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    How much are you willing to pay?

    Prepare a set of objects and show them to the class. Give a price for each set. Showcase your products to the class in the following order:

    1. ten ball point pens

    2. five notebooks

    3. three correction tapes

    4. twenty sheets of paper

    5. one ink eraser

    Ask students how much they are willing to pay for the sets of goods on display. Elicit answers from them and have them justify their choice of prices. Most likely, the students will set lower prices for the ball point pens and paper and higher prices for the notebooks and correction tapes. The highest price will probably be for the ink eraser. Use this observation as a takeoff point from where you introduce the concepts of supply and demand.

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    Your classroom need not be monotonous and sleep-inducing whenever it's time to discuss supply and demand. Use or even modify the ideas presented above in order to come up with fun social studies lesson plans on supply and demand.