Teacher Needs Help Against Commie Lesson

A reader writes:

I am a history teacher and next week we begin the Industrial revolution and the economic systems, capitalism, socialism and communism. I work at a great school and the other teachers and I all share material to help eachother. Howerver, one teacher found a lsesson on the internet and it is being passed around right now. Everyone is so excited about it and saying, “Oh this is so much fun. The kids are gonna love it and it gets the point across.” Mean while I’m pulling my hair out. Long story short you give the kids some candy and have them play rock paper scissors until a few kids have won all the candy. It’s supposed to point out how capitalism leads to an uneven distribution of wealth. If you Google rock paper scissors communism history lesson you will find the page.

So the reason I write is to see if you know of an equally “fun” way to demonstrate the difference between the systems that doesn’t make capitalism out to be this horrible system that leads to a 99% poverty rate?

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  • Matt

    I like Sam’s idea I would just make it a bit more simple. Give out the random candy (equal number to each student). Have them rate it and then report back to you the values. Place those values on the board and show the students that equal does not always mean the same… and that value is a very subjective matter. Then explain to them that this is similar to communism… everyone gets equal amounts without regard to what you really want/need.
    Then I would tell them it is time to express capitalism and let them trade with others in the class. Have them take a tally again and compare to the first one. Remind them that in a smaller class their trade partners are limited but to imagine what they would have acquired if they were trading with 300 million other people.

  • BD

    Lesson #2
    Teacher acts as the STATE and takes an arbitrary percentage, say 30%, of their subjectively valued goods. This is presented under the guise of a “social contract” in which the teacher claims that there are those who were given a “less-fortunate” start and his/her authority is granted to make these “wrongs” “right”.
    The teacher then distributes the confiscations to those he/she feels are entitled to such funding. For example: 5% is given to “hall monitor” who is now told that there is a terrorist threat in class and can now look at all classmates’ cell phones and enter their lockers/backpacks; 5% is divided among all students with a “C” grade or lower with the threat of future confiscations if they receive a score above a “C”; 5% is given to a liaison escorted by the hall monitor to spread this great system to the other classes, typically targeting the weaker kindergarteners; 5% is given to the lunch lady with the purpose of withholding food products as the teacher has determined that the price of lunches are in threat of deflationary influences; 5% is given to the class idiot to pull up the carpet in the corner and replace it over and over again to stimulate this new economic system; 5% is kept by the teacher to erect a tiered desk to sit at and look down upon the class room of equality.

  • BD

    Lesson #3
    Teacher decides to raise confiscations to 50% while claiming cuts threaten the existence of the class’s economic and social system. The majority of the students cry out “unfair” and oppose the new plan. The teacher compromises by sending a letter home to the parents stating that he/she needs funding for school projects and that these funds are to be paid out of students future allowances/college funds. No one is the wiser and all individual “class-sector” funding rises from 5% to 10%. The teacher now has a tenure.

  • scp

    This is actually a pretty good example of corporate cronyism. Forcing the kids to play rock-scissors-paper is the individual mandate. The kids who win are Big Pharma. It would be better if they were forced to play dice and the dice were loaded.

  • Rlag

    Here is a link to a lesson I adapted to show how trade is always a win win, and increases wealth. https://docs.google.com/document/d/11dZajDiUzv_35p5RmpjMZeMm6jWWJ7vIjpNl0Rc6Yng/edit?usp=sharing

  • Chris

    A bit late to this post, but how about this. Announce an experiment of socialism that will be performed over several weeks or months. This will consist of a short weekly test for which students will have to do a little bit of study. After the first test announce that every student will be given the average score and that this will be continued in all future tests.
    The average score of the first test should be about the same as for previous exams, but the average would very quickly plummet with every additional test.
    The lesson from this should be obvious.