Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I was at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City this am, waiting to become a grandfather, when I began to wonder: Why are there so many surgeries in the morning?

I believe the main reason is access to resources in case something goes wrong. Everything is open so medical emergencies can be treated easier without having to wake personnel.

Elasticity Worksheets

Elasticity is a concept that my students have trouble. I wrote this pdf document for those wanting instruction and extra work. Using this in your classroom will make you look like a genius.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another Economic Mystery

Robert Frank is one of the top economists in my book. His writing always inspires me. His latest work, The Economic Naturalist, has inspired me to use economics to solve problems. Try this one.

Why are lampshades cone shaped?

I thought the lampshades were cone shaped to funnel light around a reading area or to dim the light source. But lampshades can be stacked when they are shipped reducing the cost of transportation which is 80% of the cost.

As always, your preferences are formed by some economist cutting costs somewhere.

Monopoly Problems - A Mountain

Looking for challenging but AP relevant problems on monopoly? I wrote these to enhance your teaching and give you more free time to teach. As usual, my problems are in pdf format on Google Documents.

Friday, June 25, 2010


How come you don't see head lettuce as much these days?

When shoppers want lettuce, they must accept the lettuce packaged and at a higher cost. Stores noticed that only perfect heads were selected. To increase sales, stores started marketing the lettuce in bags. Now they sell more lettuce and moving the lettuce to the store and storage is now less costly. Overall the higher price paid is worth it since there's less waste.

Razor Blades and Efficiency in Economics

The packaging for this razor added almost 700% to the cost of the product. Why do businesses waste so much on packaging?
This product was sold at the checkout counter. To reduce theft and possible injury from manipulation, the product is protected. The product as it is packaged could not be stuffed in a pocket. I couldn't cut myself while looking at it.
The company has traded profits for convenience and advertising. The package contains information about the product.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Macroeconomics and Logical Fallacies

Have you ever heard someone say after making a point, "It's simple economics!"? I often hear this when people are talking about saving a dime on a grocery item. This people use economics incorrectly and they confuse home economics with the disciplined study of how people satisfy their unlimited wants with limited resources. I often hear people using economics in illogical ways so I wrote this worksheet to help students shift through the logical and illogical. As usual, it's a Google Document in pdf format for brower control.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Complete Production Possibilities Unit

With nothing better to do than to study econ, I wrote this study guide to enhance teaching the production possibilities curve. As usual, it's a pdf stored on Google documents. Feel free to criticize it, but let me know if you use it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Utility and Marginal Utility Worksheet

A worksheet to teach utility and marginal utility calculations and graphing is here.

I skip over this topic since it's rarely tested on the AP. Instead, I made a teaching worksheet and saved it as a Google Document in pdf form so my students can still get the information. I plan to add consumer equilibrium in the future.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Excel Project -- Cost Curves

I spent the first couple of days of my vacation writing an Excel project for all cost curves for a perfect competitor. This project takes the owner of Matt's Materials through the calculations of total revenue, total cost, ATC, AVC, AFC, AR, and MC to find profit maximization. As always, I have made them a Google document. There are four.

The instructions and student worksheet is here.
The instructions and student worksheet for part II is here.
Answer keys are here and here.

I now have tremendous respect for any one who writes lesson plans on cost curves. Best wishes.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Long Run Supply Curves

Have you wanted to teach the shape of the long run suppy curve? This worksheet will teach you about a constant cost and decreasing cost industry.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Old Duffer

I wanted to make a statement. Not sure if this works.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Terms of Trade in PDF Format

If you are looking for a teaching worksheet on terms of trade, you might like this pdf. For years I have struggled to teach students this concept. Usually, the student misses the lecture and I have to repeat it on my time. I developed this worksheet to substitute for my labor. I think it's great.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Terms of Trade Student Worksheet

My best worksheet ever is here. I worked all weekend on this. I'll get the pdf version up later tonight. Cheers.