In Economics today, we learned about gains from trade, specialization and comparative advantage through a game. I try not to call it a game until after its over, because for some reason students all think games are easy and when we start the directions and the first rounds of this exercise it is easy only for a few and hard for most. That's my favorite part, watching them struggle and try to problem solve! It is from TCI Econ Alive and I highly recommend it. Half of the room are farmers from region a and the other half are farmers from region b-- they have different production goals and different production schedules for potatoes and pineapples. The ultimate goal is for the students to realize if they specialize in one of their crops, (potatoes & pineapples) they will be able to trade more effectively and increase their production. We do five rounds and most students don't get it until round three or four. A few don't get it until we talk about what worked and why. The room is bustling, students think its impossible then they are successful, students keep saying this will never work etc., etc.
These types of activities really deepen the learning. It takes a lot of prep work, a lot of time and a lot of guidance- but soooo worth it.
My mistake today- I made sure to have the kids give me digital feedback on what they liked about the game and what they would change. Great idea, huh? Except I read the feedback after school when I was already done administering that activity!!!! Save it for next year I guess....
A-ha: This type of learning is very new for some of my students and they think they would rather do textbook work. By the end of class, not so much.
Reminder: Never decide to forgo one of these exercises because there is not enough time.