Learning the economic laws of supply and demand can be a challenge for students. Games that demonstrate the concepts can be an effective way to introduce supply and demand curves, equilibrium and pricing decisions. In addition, games allow students to learn the practical matters of economics instead of just the theoretical concepts. This allows students to critically analyze the strengths and limitations of the assumptions that the laws of supply and demand are based.
Supply & Demand Game
While not creatively named, this fun little game, for the high school aged or older, introduces the product Conequtte, the "flirty charcoal that's too hot to handle." The game player is the inventor, looking to market his new product. At heart, he's a grill master, but now he needs to learn how to use the concepts of supply and demand to become a successful business owner selling his new product. The simulation takes the player through a set of multiple choice questions that test the player's savvy regarding competition, production issues, consumer demand.
The Dangerous Economist
Economics professor Cyril Morong introduced a simple card game to demonstrate supply and demand to college students. Each student receives a card indicating if she is a buyer or a seller. The object of the game is to maximize the value of their situation by making transactions with other students. Each buyer card indicates a maximum bid price and each seller card indicates a minimum offer price. Because there are many buyers and sellers, the object of the game is for buyers and sellers to each maximize the value of their transaction. That is, the buyer's goal is to find the seller with the lowest price and the seller's goal is to find the buyer with the highest price.
For something a little lighter and more entertaining, try the "supply n demand" Funnylishus games simple enough for the middle school aged, but sophisticated enough for adults. The website contains several video-game like simulation games where the player chooses a type of business to run and makes decisions for stocking inventory, purchasing raw materials, setting prices, etc. The simulation then shows customers purchasing or forgoing the product. At the end of the day, profits are tallied. The player can change the settings to maximize profits.
The Lemonade Stand
For younger economists in grade school, the Lemonade Stand is a popular internet game that also uses a video-game simulation format. The player is invited to participate by making choices about quality control, inventory, purchasing, and pricing. In addition, the player is encouraged to pay attention to the weather forecast to project demand. Over 30 days, she continues to manage all aspects of the lemonade stand. At the end of the game, the player is shown how much money she earned. She can choose to play again to improve profit.
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