Supply & Demand in Microeconomics Activities for High School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As you teach your students about microeconomics, you will want them to build their understanding of the relationship between supply and demand. This lesson offers some activities that help students better learn these concepts.

Teaching Microeconomics

If you are a high school economics or social studies teacher, then part of your task is to help students understand microeconomics, or the behaviors and contributions of individuals and small businesses as they relate to economics

In microeconomics, the relationship between supply and demand models how prices get determined in the marketplace. When students deeply understand this relationship, they will have a stronger understanding of prices, production, and purchasing power.

To help your students comprehend supply and demand and think critically about these concepts, you might want to incorporate some activities into your teaching. When students work with activities, they have a better opportunity to take ownership over their own learning. The activities in this lesson focus on helping students understand supply and demand in the context of microeconomics.

Understanding Supply

Here, you will find activities that focus on helping students build their comprehension of the concept of supply.

Model a Supply Schedule

Have students work with partners for this activity.

Each partnership should think about a different kind of good or service. Ask them to create a hypothetical model of a supply schedule for that good or service. In other words, they are creating a table showing the relationship between the product's price and how much of it is supplied. Then, have students share their tables with classmates and discuss what they learned or thought about when creating this schedule.

Visual Dictionary

To understand supply, students will need to know the definition of a variety of terms, such as perfect competition, physical capital, marginal cost, etc.

With partners, ask students to create glossaries of at least ten different terms or phrases associated with the concept of supply in microeconomics. Each term should include a definition, a sample sentence, and a visual to help readers remember the definition. Students can now reference these glossaries as they continue their study of economics.

Understanding Demand

These activities will build your students' understanding of what demand is all about in microeconomics.

Act Out Determinants

In general, the determinants of demand are considered income, preference, price, expectations of future price, and number of potential consumers. Have students work in small groups and assign each group to work with one of these determinants. They should prepare a brief skit that shows how this determinant works within microeconomics.

For example, a skit about preference might tell a brief story about how consumers' current preference for the color blue determines the demand for more blue clothing in the marketplace. Leave time for students to act out their skits and discuss the relationships among different determinants.

The Story of Demand

This is an activity students can work on independently.

Ask each student to think about one example of demand they have experienced in their own lives or seen within their family or a business they know intimately. Have them write a paragraph or brief essay describing what they noticed about demand in this case. Challenge students to incorporate some of the following concepts:

  • substitute goods
  • demand curve
  • complementary goods
  • marginal cost and marginal utility
  • opportunity costs
  • Giffen goods
  • Veblen goods

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