Teaching Economic Concepts with a Bag of Chocolate..

Came across this paper via MR blog (the blog points to a different version though). It is written by Nicholas G. Rupp  of East Carolina University.

He points to an interesting way to teach basic principles of economics to a elementary school class via an experiment.

This paper describes a classroom experiment suitable for elementary school students in which participants are actively engaged in making trading decisions. Students are provided an endowment of gum and are asked to make trading decisions to acquire chocolate. As the op- portunity cost of acquiring a piece of chocolate rises, fewer students are willing to make trades. This interactive classroom exercise illustrates three fundamental economic concepts: the law of demand, opportunity costs, and gains from trade. Assessement test results reveal that two days after this classroom exercise, fifth grade students register significant improvements in their understanding of three fundamental economic concepts.

Nice bit…

Though econ textbooks do give such examples, one learns much better by doing and seeing. Such experiments can surely help connect the main ideas.

Infact, one can use such experiments to even show the behavioral aspects (not to the fifth graders though). Aggregate position might still show that results confirm the theory. But individually there may be many cases of divergence..

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