Suggested pathways for the new curriculum

Yearly plan for the DP economics course

I have included a recommended yearly plan for the two years of the IB course, as well as additional suggestions which some teachers have used successfully when teaching the course.  Within the site you will find lesson notes, class exercises and discussion points for each unit.

Sequencing of units

Completing the units in the sequence provided will allow you to adequately cover the course, with each unit building on the knowledge acquired from earlier topic areas. 

  Week     Syllabus component
Year 1 − Microeconomics (21 weeks)
Week 1−3

Unit 1: Introduction to Economics

1.1 What is economics?
1.2 How do economists approach the world?

Week 4−7

Unit 2: Microeconomics

Unit 2.1: Demand

2.2: Supply and demand

2.3: Competitive market equilibrium

Week 8−10Unit 2.4 and 2.5: Elasticity
Week 11−13Unit 2.6: Role of government in microeconomics
Week 14−16

Unit 2.7: Market failure - externalities

Unit 2.8: Economics of the environment (HL only)

Unit 2.9: Public goods

Unit 2.10: Thhe environment

Week 17−21

Unit 2.11: Asymmetric information (HL only)

Unit 2.12: Market power (HL only)

Week 22End of semester examination on microeconomics, with the focus on all IB examination papers.  This is also an appropriate time in the syllabus to set your classes their first IA, based on of the microeconomics topics.
Macroeconomics (20 weeks and will be completed in year 2)
Week 23−25Unit 3.1: Measuring economic activity and illustrating its variations
Week 26−28Unit 3.2: Variations in economic activity: aggregate demand and aggregate supply
Week 29−32Unit 3.5 and 3.6: Demand management (demand side policies) – monetary policy
Week 33−35Unit 3.7: Supply side policies
End of year exams, based on a 35 week year.  The focus of this exam should be on IB examination style questions − time permitting.  At this stage your classes should ideally have completed IA commentaries on microeconomics and macroeconomics
Year 12: Continuation of the macroeconomics units
Week 1−5

Unit 3.3: Macroeconomic objectives

Week 6-8

Unit 3.4 Economics of inequality and poverty
The global economy (16 weeks)
Week 9Unit 4.1: Benefits of international trade
Week 10 - 11Unit 4.2: Types of trade protection
Week 12−13Unit 4.3: Arguments for and against trade controls / protection
Week 14Unit 4.4: Economic integration
Week 15-16Unit 4.5: Exchange rates
Week 17

Unit 4.6 Balance of payments

Week 18Unit 4.7: Sustainable development
Week 19Unit 4.8: Measuring development
Week 20

Unit 4.9: Barriers to Development

Week 21-22Unit 4.10: Economic growth and/or economic development strategies
Week 23Trial examinations followed by revision for the final exam.  For these trial exams I would recommend setting all three papers for HL students and papers one and two for SL students − time permitting.  For guidelines on preparing your classes access the following section on: Revision for the final IB exam

Total teaching hours:

Introduction to economics: 10 (SL), 10 (HL)

Microeconomics: 35 (SL), 70 (HL)

Macroeconomics 40 (SL), 75 (HL)

The global economy: 45 (SL), 65 (HL)

Internal assessment: 20 (SL), 20 (HL)

Total teaching hours: 150 (SL), 240 (HL)


Using my recommended pathway, the microeconomic units are taught in sequence (1.1−1.2), followed by units 2.1-2.11  Alternatively the unit on market failure (2.7) can be taught after unit 2.11. 

In macroeconomics I prefer to teach unit 3.3 and 3.4, after the macro units (3.1 - 3.7) and can be taught at the beginning of year 2, when you will tie together demand and supply theories and examine their impact on the key economic objectives. 

The following plan also presumes that your classes contain Higher level students taking all of the units.  Classes following the Standard level course would not complete the HL only sections, including all of weeks 17 - 21, units 2.10 amd 2.11.  In circumstances where you have both SL and HL students in the same class then you can teach those HL units (2.8, 2.10 and 2.11) during your HL only classes, though this is not ideal as you will not be teaching the units in sequence.

The extended essay is also a consideration when deciding the order of units to cover.  I find that many students prefer to select a macroeconomics topic as the basis fo their extended essay and this might necessitate teaching those units earleir in the course.

Alternative pathways

At the beginning of the course I include a number of activities to introduce microeconomics such as types of economic systems, factors of production as well as economic sectors.  Some IB teachers, however, prefer to integrate those elements during the course.  For instance economic systems can also be taught in the section on government intervention or unit 2.6, while others complete the section on economic sectors during unit 4.9 (barriers to development), linking this unit to the section on barriers to development in LEDCs.

Other teachers also teach the development units of unit 4 very early on in the economics course, immediately after a brief introduction to the course and before unit 2, microeconomics.  In doing this you will be using the development economics course as an introduction to the economics course.  It is also possible to teach the microeconomics course in year two, after units 3 and 4 and this pathway means that your classes will learn the macroeconomic and global economics units in year one, making it easier for students to complete an extended essay on those topics.

International trade or at least an introduction to trade can also be taught early on in year 1 during the section on opportunity cost.  This fits neatly with the concept of comparative advantage.

Every potential ordering of units has advantages as well as disadvantages and as always it is important to remember that the principal goal is to cover the course adequately so that students arrive at their exam prepared, which includes sufficient time for revision.

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