During the previous Economic class, we have been playing the Tennis Ball Game in order to understand the short-run production functions and the law of diminishing returns better. This game was a simple way to illustrate students the total, average and marginal concepts.
The game consisted of increasing the units of labor (the number of students). Labor involved picking up one ball at a time and dropping it in a bucket. The rule was to not let go of the ball and to manage it carefully. As a result, we came up with data that showed increasing Total Product and finally constant as the units of labor increased, as showed in the graph. This suggests that at some point, no matter how many units of labor there are, the total product remains the same because there are simply too many people. The reason why the slope is not quite bell-looking is because along the game, different strategies to bring the tennis ball from one bucket to another were used. The way people stood next to each other and the way people were passing on the ball to each other altered, trying to produce the most and highest Total Product. If the same strategy was employed throughout the whole game, the curve would be like bell-looking, having an increasing slope to finally become constant.
This game enabled us to understand better the concepts of the total, average and marginal concepts. It was a great opportunity to learn, not just by listening and taking notes, but also by engaging ourselves into action and learn physically.
Tennis Ball Game Data Results