THE MONEY GAME
LESSON PLANS created BY:
Jim Gould, Muraski Elementary School
Subject Area: ECONOMICS
Grade Level: 5 - 8
The lesson is taught by having students participate in games that require them to make choices about how they spend money. The students learn that when many people want the same item, the price of that item is likely to go up. There is a shortage.
They also learn that when few people want something, the price of that item is likely to go down. There is a surplus.
This project is about economics. Students who do this project will learn some of the fundamentals of economics. Economics has much to do with human behavior. Economics is a way of trying to understand and explain what people do.
An understanding of economics will help students understand why consumers were willing to spend large amounts of money for food, shelter, and entertainment at the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia. It will also help students understand why most small businesses don't make it.
A very important economic concept is scarcity. When goods are scarce, they may be in demand. When scarce goods are in demand, the price that people are willing to pay will tend to rise. Eventually, the price may exceed what people are willing to pay. A market price will be arrived at at the intersection of the demand and supply curves. This is the price that consumers are willing to pay to buy a product and at which sellers are willing to make or obtain or provide that product.
When people make purchases, they are voting with their dollars. When people spend money, they encourage suppliers to make goods available in the market.
In contrast, when people save, they discourage suppliers from making goods. This could result in scarcity till such time as either the supplier is willing to shift the supply curve to the left to make the prices lower or consumers suddenly change their saving/spending habits such that the demand curve moves to the right. In either case the market price arrived at by consumers and suppliers becomes a stable price for at least a brief period of time and represents the "going rate" for any particular good.
In Atlanta during the summer, 1996 Olympics, the going rate for a bottle of water was $2.75. When the Cleveland Indians began to play well in 1994 after decades of poor performance, fans were willing to pay more for tickets and were willing to spend more money on Indians merchandise. People wanted to acquire tickets to games and Indians souvenirs, Indian hats, shirts, jackets, and so forth.
Before the opening of Jacob's Field in 1994 there were many unsold Indian's seats at the old stadium. Jacob's Field has fewer seats but is a much better facility. Couple this with great playing, and the demand grew for tickets. As the of cost seats rose, and it became more complicated to obtain tickets.
During the fall of 1995 while the Indians were in the World Series, it became very difficult to obtain season tickets for the 1996 season as well as seats for individual games. All kinds of strategies were put together by the Indians to fairly distribute seats to the many fans who were willing to pay top dollar for tickets.
My own experience included dialing the phone repeatedly one Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. till 11:00 a.m. in a vain attempt to get my name on a lottery list of people who might have a chance to have their name drawn, which would entitle them to purchase tickets for one game. I had no luck, but I persisted because my demand for tickets was very high.
In contrast, I made little effort to purchase tickets for the Crunch professional soccer games because my interest in soccer is limited and I am able to easily get tickets whenever I want to see a game. My observation was that at the one game I attended in 1996 there were many unsold seats even though the team had a good year as I recall.
Thus, the price for Crunch tickets is lower than the price for Indians tickets, and it may be that there is a surplus of tickets at most Crunch home games. On the other hand, there is no surplus of Indian's tickets because they are scarce and in high demand.
Proceed to the Money Game.
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