Overview and Purpose: To bridge math with the issues of peace and conflict and to connect such issues to the students’ lives at XX Elementary school.
Students will achieve an understanding of the causes and effects of global conflict. They will acquire a basic understanding of corporate bullying and power imbalances. They will discuss possible resolutions and reflect on these issues as they pertain to the Chester Le school
- Book: If the World were a village
- Graphs (extractions from the above book)
Types of cards
- Monopoly Money
- ‘Social Spending/Silent Auction’ worksheets ( 1 per group)
- Bags of ‘resources’ for each group
Group1 (group of 5) 8 rulers, 6 scissors, a lot of newspaper, 8 glue, 4 pencils, no construction
Group 2 (group of 4) – 4 scissors, 4 glue, 4 rulers, newspaper, 4 pencils, a bit of construction paper
Group 3 (group of 4) – a lot of construction paper, some newspaper 1 pair of scissors, 1 glue,1 pencil
Explain the purpose of the game and provide directions.
Purpose of the Game: Students must produce as many links as possible for their group, using the resources provided. Each link given to the ‘Global Bank’ will be exchanged for money. The group that has earned the most amount of money by the end of the game is the winner.
Instructions for ‘The Global Economy’ Game (to run for approximately 50 minutes):
Teachers will act as mediators and will be designated a specific area of the classroom to monitor.
Each group will select 1 trader and 1 negotiator to represent their group. These jobs entail taking chains up to the Global Bank and negotiating for resources with other groups during the allotted times, respectively.
Students are divided into groups of 4 or 5. Each group has been given a bag of resources which they may use to construct their chains. Each bag has a letter (ie, A, B, C, etc). This letter distinguishes them from other countries
Each chain consists of 5 links. Each link created must be 30 cm. in height by 2 inches in width.
Only the trader may bring the chain up to the ‘Global Bank’ at the front of the room. If students have produced a chain which is in accordance to the required measurements (as determined and measured by the teacher monitor stationed at the front of the class representing a banker), they will receive 50 ‘dollars.’
After this exchange, the banker must ensure that that group receives a check mark under the country letter (A piece of chart paper is placed on the front blackboard with the country letters down the vertical axis and ‘number of chains’ along the horizontal axis). This is to monitor how many chains have been produced by each group
As students are producing chains, teacher monitors will survey the class and offer different cards to groups. Each card will have an instruction that the group must abide by. For example, if a group is given a ‘workplace hazard’ card that says ‘There has been a chemical spill in your factory and production materials have been destroyed. 2 of your rulers are temporarily out of service’, a monitor will take these rulers away from the group and return to the group them after a few minutes (this time period is flexible). Additionally, if a student has been temporarily withdrawn from the group, ensure that there is an area of the room for such students to sit and watch until they are told by a monitor that they may reenter the game.
Every 10 minutes, there will be an announcement made by teacher monitors explaining that another trading session will commence. At this point, the negotiators from each group may circulate the groups and barter with other tables for any resources that they may need. Each bartering period will last 3 minutes.
At the 25 minute mark, monitors will announce to the class that chains constructed of newspaper have dropped in value (to 25 dollars); however, those constructed of construction paper is now being valued at 100 dollars. Also, if a group wishes to purchase a stapler from the Global Bank for a price of 150 dollars, any subsequent chains made from staples rather than glue will be worth 100 dollars. *Note: Monitors should mark on graph construction paper chains in a different colour marker from that used for newspaper chains. This will help make it easier at the end to determine which groups were able to produce more construction paper chains than other groups. Be sure to ask students during the discussion period how/why this was the case!
An announcement is made that chain production must stop and the Global Bank is now closed.
On Bar Graph #1 (pre-made and hung on board – country letters along the bottom axis with money amounts on vertical axis). Have each group announce how much money they earned. This is a good point to begin discussion of resource distribution. As each group announces their final profit, ask them how many resources they began with. How did this amount help or hinder their production?
- Teacher monitor will graph the results as groups submit their profits. Ask: How can this be connected to global trade, wealth/power distribution and (im)balances in the real world?
Hand out ‘Social Spending’ Worksheets – 1 to each table.
Explain that, as countries, each group must decide how they would like to spend their money they have earned during chain production. What do they consider to be the most important thing for the citizens of their nation to have access to? What do they consider to be least important? Have the students rank in order of importance.
Explain that countries will have the opportunity to purchase those goods/services which they desire. Give 1 or 2 minutes to then select a group member who will represent their nation during the auction.
~ 10: 35
Directions for the Silent Auction
On the board, the different goods and services are written.
It is a silent auction. The goal is to acquire some goods/services for your country. The selected group member will stand if they wish to make a purchase. The monitors will begin at a price (50 dollars). Teachers running the auction will raise the price by certain intervals (this is at their discretion as it will depend on how much money the groups earned during the previous portion). If a group is willing to put in an offer, the selected member will silently stand. They will continue to stand as the price rises and until they are the last person standing. Group members may motion or signal as a means of communicating to the standing member. The group with the ‘winning’ purchase will be given a card with the good/service that they have bought.
The auction will continue until all goods/services are sold.
Ask groups to announce what they were able to purchase.
Who felt they weren’t able to purchase what they needed/wanted?
Who felt they were?
Why did this situation occur? How did some groups end up with so much more than others?
Use graphs created to explain that in actuality, these are the percentages of citizens who have access to the services/goods that your nations purchased.
Ask how the amount of profit made during the game affected students’ abilities to make purchases during the auction. Draw links with the class to the real world.
15 – 20 minutes (or longer if time!)
Conclude presentation and continue to bridge the lesson to peace and conflict.
Ask what conflicts arose during the first portion of the lesson (chain production)?
What were some strategies that your group used to increase profit (encourage all answers to be shared. This is a time to discuss bribery, stealing, etc that students may have engaged in. Explain that students will not be in trouble for engaging in such dishonesties as these strategies reflect strategies used in the real world and this game is being used to explore such issues.
Was it difficult to stay peaceful and maintain honesty during the game? Why?
Next, link to peace and conflict as they pertain to the students and their school.
How does conflict affect our lives at school?
Why is cooperation necessary?
Can you make connections with what you noticed during the game and what you experience at school? (ie, some students having more then others, wanting what others having, sharing (or not), etc.)
Conclude lesson with passage from If the World were a Village (knowing who our neighbours are, where they live and how they live will help us live in peace). Expand and discuss possibilities as to why knowing and understanding can lead to peace.
Notes to Teachers:
- During the chain making game, don’t interrupt any conflicts amongst groups or group members. Don’t intercept any stealing or dishonest activities that you may notice. These conflicts/strategies will be a good stepping stone for the later discussion on why conflict arises and how resource and wealth discrepancies are often dealt with.
- During the first portion of the game, monitors may want to help ‘direct’ which group is producing the most chains.’ Hopefully at the end of the game, the group which began with the most resources will earn the largest profit. In contrast, the group which had the fewest number of resources should have the smallest profit and therefore will also not be able to purchase as much during the silent auction (as the goal is to use the game as reflection of real life activities and issues). As such, as monitors tally the number of chains submitted, it will help them to determine which groups to hand out the various cards to. If another group is catching up for some reason, the monitors may want to give 1 or 2 more cards in order to slow them down. The purpose is to reflect as accurately as possible global trade in the real world.
Language Arts – writing letters to politicians, political/social activism
Social Studies – Canada’s links to the world (sweatshops, child labour, human rights, etc)
Math – Introduction to Data Management
Geography- examining different nations’ resource/natural wealth, physical geography, etc.