Over the years I’ve come to realize that, like any other subject, Macroeconomics is best retained when connections are made. It is for this reason that I find myself consistently connecting the new graphs that we introduce to the ones taught prior—production possibilities curve, business cycle, and Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply (AS/AD) graph—all have elements of an economy that are tied by inflation, recession, and full employment). 


At the beginning of the school year, one side of my classroom is an empty slate. When each graph is introduced, I add it to the wall to serve as a constant reminder to my students that they are all interconnected in some way. 


I find that this constant reminder of displaying the graphs as we traverse through the material has helped my students more and more. Retracing the steps of how one element or change is reflected in each graph is paramount to the students remembering what each graph is saying when taking the test at the end of the year. 


Assessment of the posters can be done prior to the test as a review and can be completed in a myriad of ways. One of the more interesting and fun ways is a bit more time-consuming and open-ended. But it’s effective in that it requires students to think critically about all the concepts they have learned and use them correctly.   


Review Activity 

  1. Group students in pairs or triads. This can be done however you choose but make sure they are not homogenously grouped. 
  2. Student rules:
      1. Create a 10-point free-response question that includes the drawing of at least three graphs at some point in a country’s economy and shifting of at least two of those graphs.
      2. The free-response question must begin with: Country X (naming the country is not required) is operating at, above, or below full employment so that those completing the free-response question know where to begin.
      3. The “flashpoint” graphs must include the AS/AD curve.
      4. Utilize scenarios that would occur in the overall economy to require the students working on the free-response question to show the shifting of at least two original graphs (AS/AD, Phillips Curve, and/or Production Possibilities Curve). These scenarios should include at least three of the following: fiscal policy, monetary policy, loanable funds, and international trade.
      5. Be sure to include directions that require movement to be shown on the original graph.
      6. Make sure to create an answer key.
      7. Once complete and the teacher has approved, students should switch their free-response question with another group and that group solves the free-response question.
  3. Once complete and the teacher has approved, students should switch their free-response question with another group and that group solves the free-response question. 
  4. Once solved, the creators receive the answer and grade the completed free-response question. Creators should only make notations where students are correct, as a reader of the exam would (+1, +2, etc.). 
  5. As an added component, the creators can return the free-response question to those who solved it to fix the portion they got incorrect.  


Asking the students to create their own free-response question requires the students to tie the information together and promotes concept retention.   


I hope your students enjoy this review activity! 


Download the lesson and a student example below!


Tracy Lowd has taught AP® Macroeconomics and Honors Gifted Economics at Southwest Miami High in Miami, Florida, for 14 years. She holds a certification to teach gifted and talented students, a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Florida International University, and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Secondary Literacy from American College of Education. She assisted in writing and reviewing for the AP Macroeconomics coursebook from Perfection Learning.®