Where Do Rebounds Go? Using Balls to Teach Price Elasticity of Demand

Socratic Seminars in the Economics Classroom (Sikkink)
December 16, 2019

Motivation and interest are important determinants of academic performance (Becker, 1997). However, engaging and motivating students involves presenting the material in an active and inclusive way. To facilitate this, the current paper develops an in-class activity that simplifies the process of introducing one of the core, most important, and yet least-understood concepts in introductory economics: price elasticity of demand. It does so by relating the otherwise-abstract concept with the basic and familiar image of a bouncing ball. Specifically, we use a ball’s bounce upon being dropped against the floor to visually demonstrate the increase in quantity demand in response to a decline in the price of a good/service.

Steve Muchiri and Mihai Paraschiv