JiTT in Introduction to Demand Analysis

This page authored by Rae Jean Goodman, U.S. Naval Academy, based on material in any introductory economics textbook.
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In this activity, students will talk about the factors that shift demand curves and explain why the curve shifts in the direction that it does. The student starts with looking at a supply and demand graph. Students answer three questions about the graph and what causes the curve to move.

Learning Goals

Student learning outcomes
  1. Read a graph and determine the result of a shift in one curve.
  2. Understand the difference between a shift in the curve and a movement along a curve.
  3. List factors that shift the demand curve.
  4. Explain the factors that cause the demand curve to shift.

Context for Use

This activity can be used at the beginning of an introductory economics course either at the high school (Advanced Placement or IB type of course) or undergraduate level. The activity should be used after the student has read the chapter on demand and supply. The activity provides practice on reading a graph and should take 15-30 minutes.

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity is to explore student knowledge of graph reading, factors that shift the demand curve, and the reasoning behind the direction of the shift for each factor. The student is presented with a graph and then asked four questions which go from the simple (reading the graph) to listing the factors that cause a shift to a higher level skill of explaining why each factor would shift the demand curve in the particular direction.
Supply and Demand Graph (Microsoft Word 28kB Mar31 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Most students have difficulty with reading graphs, determining the causes of curve shifts in introductory economics courses, and explaining how each of the factors will cause the curve to shift. In general, several students will list quantity and/or price changes to shift the curve or provide supply based reasons for the demand curve shift.


I use a simple scale: (1) If an answer is attempted; (2) if any of the answer comes close; (3) some of the answer is correct or only part of the question is answered correctly; (4) if the question is answered correctly. I use the results of these activities as part of the preparation and participation grade for the course.

References and Resources