Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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The Economics Classroom
About the Workshops

Workshop Descriptions

1. How Economists Think
1. Why Markets Work
3. The Government's Hand
4. Learning, Earning, Saving
5. Trading Globally
6. The Building Blocks of Macroeconomics
7. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
8. Growth and Entrepreneurship

About the Teachers


Project Contributors

Production Credits

Site Map

Video Main Page  
Support Materials  

Workshop Two: Why Markets Work


creating supply and demand curves
prices reflect shifts in supply and demand curves
profits direct scarce resources
cartels v. competition

The foundation of economic activity is the market, in which buyers and sellers meet. This workshop focuses on the laws of supply and demand and their effects on the allocation of resources. The laws of supply and demand are not only critical to an understanding of economics; they are also models for understanding human behavior.

Carol Penland's class at South Cobb High School in Austell, Georgia, participates in a simulated market of classroom-baked cookies. Through this exercise students learn how the forces of supply and demand move prices towards equilibrium and they get a sense of the "invisible hand" that drives market operations.

Dick Rankin's honors class at Iolani High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, demonstrates how profits direct scarce resources to their most valued uses in a free market by functioning as positive and negative incentives for consumers and producers and, conversely, how barriers to entry in a monopoly market prevent that same dynamic from taking place.

Richie Kibota's class at Iolani High School participates in a simulation exercise on cartels. They learn how cartels generate profits by restricting production and why they eventually break up.

Carol Penland
Carol Penland
Teachers' Thoughts
"I think one of the hardest things that students have comprehending in economics is the law of supply and demand. Even though they know these things, no one has ever used the vocabulary with them - supply and demand, quantity demanded, quantity supplied. I still have students coming into my class at the beginning of the semester that think the government sets the prices for everything. They don't understand that it's consumers and sellers deciding what the prices will be. So this has been a difficult concept for most students to grasp. Once they get it then everything else in economics kind of falls in place."


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