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Economic Systems Simulation

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Grade 9, 10, 11, 12



Ed Dynamic
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About This Product

Teacher Guide Economic Systems Game

Thank you for using this product to introduce economic systems in an engaging and memorable way! Consult the teacher instructions below to help you facilitate the game.

  1. Print the “Class Bucks” located in the folder where this instructions sheet was located. There is a pdf version and a google doc version. Each page contains 12 “bucks”. In my experience 5 “bucks” per student is enough to create a manageable but exciting classroom economy.

  2. The goal of the game is to demonstrate, in an over-simplistic way, capitalism, socialism, and communism using a rock paper scissors game that most students feel pretty competitive playing.

  3. I recommend having a very simple prize that students can buy at the end of the game if they achieve 10 or more bucks in a single round. In the past I have used treats or 5 extra credit points as incentives.

  4. For round 1 you are demonstrating capitalism. I recommend a high degree of stratification for this round. In other words, have some students start with 8 “bucks” and have others start with 1. You can use this random wheel to randomize numbers between 1 and 8.  You might say “okay this is Jaylen” and then spin the wheel to see how many he starts with. The big difference here represents the stratification that is natural in capitalism. Possible for anyone to get rich, but easier if you started with more, etc.

  1. Play the round by having students wager “bucks” on a round of rock paper scissors

  2. After each round, take a minute to have the class note how many players got to 10 and how many had 0 or 1. This is typically a higher number for capitalism, which they might notice.

  3. After round 1 take a few bucks from the highest earners and give them to the lowest so everyone has at least 1 or 2.

  4. For round 2 you are showing democratic socialism. I usually have everyone start with 3, 4, or 5 and run the round again. Then I tax anyone over 6 back down to 6 and use it to try to guarantee everyone at least has 3.

  5. For round 3, I have everyone start with 4, and at the end of the round make it 4 again to demonstrate communism.

  6. Finally, review the reflection questions at the end to hit on major themes!

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Resource Tags

Government Simulation Economic Systems Capitalism Communism Democratic Socialism Vocabulary Government Roles Group Work

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