Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tip 26 for Teaching AP Economics.

Summary: Use active learning.

Find activities that don't involve rote memorization. Students will find the class more interesting if they are involved in stimulating activities. Some of my favorite activities are:

1. The M-Factory. In this activities students make the "M" for letter jackets to be used at Muscatine High School. The purpose is to show diminishing marginal returns. From this activity we calculate marginal product, average product, and graph the production function.

2. To show diminishing marginal utility I make students eat marsh mellows until they want to quit. This activity shows that more and more gives less and less utility.

3. To show that an increase in the money supply will increase prices, I throw play money in the room at random students. Then I offer candy for sale. Then, I double the money supply and offer the candy for sale again. This activity, combined with the equation of exchange, MV = PQ, shows that inflation is a monetary phenomena.

Many more activities can be found in Capstone student activities workbook.

After completing an activity, I find that students often mistake activity for achievement. You must debrief the students and make connections for them on the finer points. Have the students write a summary or complete textbook problems to reinforce the concepts from the activities.

Activities don't have to take the entire class period. Activities often stimulate further learning as students have an experience they can relate to.

What are your favorite activities?

About the Author: Mike Fladlien is an AP Economics teacher from Muscatine High School in Muscatine, IA. He is an EconEdLink.org author blogging at Mikeroeconomics.


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