Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
As a high school social studies or economics teacher, one of your tasks is to help students understand the way their own financial behaviors and choices work. Ultimately, this has to do with understanding microeconomics, the branch of economics that has to do with individual and small company behaviors within the overall economy.
To help your students get a better grasp on microeconomics, you might want to incorporate activities that let them take some ownership over their own learning. The activities in this lesson address some of the major topics in microeconomics while appealing to students with a variety of learning styles and strengths.
In this section, you will find activities that are well suited to visual learners as they come to an understanding of microeconomics.
Understanding microeconomics comes with understanding a fair amount of abstract vocabulary.
Have your students work with partners for this activity. They should come up with ten to fifteen different terms that have to do with microeconomics. Then, have them create a glossary of these terms, with an image in the form of a graph or illustration to go along with each of them. Students can reference these glossaries continuously over the course of your study of microeconomics.
Supply and Demand Graphs
Working with microeconomics requires a careful understanding of the relationship between supply and demand. Project images of three to five different graphs showing the relationships between supply and demand for a variety of goods and services.
If possible, access graphs relevant to your local community. Then, have students work with partners to discuss the following questions:
- What, exactly, is represented by each of these graphs and how do you know?
- What do these graphs tell you about microeconomics?
- What questions are you left with regarding supply and demand after looking at these graphs?
Bring students together to discuss the ideas and questions that came up in their partnerships.
These activities allow students to get really active, using their hands and bodies to build their understanding of microeconomics.
Enacting a Theory
Break students into small groups and assign each group one theory from microeconomics, such as Supply and Demand Theory, Consumer Demand Theory, or Theory of Production.
Ask them to come up with a short skit that portrays this theory in action. Viewers of their skit should be able to understand the theory and its relevance to their lives and choices. Leave time for students to act out their skits for one another and discuss what they learned.
Build a Game
Many students are already familiar with the game of Monopoly, which is (in some sense) a game about microeconomics.
For this activity, students should work with partners to create their own games. They should make game boards, cards, spinners or dice, and playing pieces. However, the most important aspect of each game is that it should get across at least two different major concepts or ideas from microeconomics. When the games are finished, dedicate a class period to letting students play!
Finally, the activities in this section let students use language as they come to a stronger understanding of the concepts and skills involved in microeconomics.
Microeconomics and Daily Life
Ask your students to write letters to their families explaining what they have learned about microeconomics and how these understandings influence their daily lives and the choices they make as consumers and/or producers. Each letter should include at least three specific pieces of evidence or explanations of theories.
Letters may also use evidence to try to persuade families to make new and different economic choices, as long as these are stated respectfully. Encourage students to share their letters with family members.
Economics in the News
Encourage students to read the newspaper every day for a week and ask each student to bring in one or two articles that they feel are relevant to what they have learned about microeconomics.
Have each student summarize the articles they brought in and explain what theories, concepts, or skills from microeconomics the articles bring to bear. You can dedicate a bulletin board or classroom wall to an ongoing sharing of these articles.
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