Industrial Life:  A Game

This was a wonderful way to illustrate, in concrete terms, what I had been telling my students throughout the entire unit: That where you ended up during and after the Industrial Revolution largely depended on where you started.  When I found this game at the Smithsonian website, I was elated!!
http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/whole_cloth/u2ei/index.html

 


The students all started on the Red path until they bought a mill for $25, 000, then they moved to the blue.  Notice that the paydays and the increases in salary are  much, much larger than the red, so the growth in assets is exponential.  I had one student win the lottery, buy a mill, move to the blue path and then "die" on the next roll.  They truly had a blast with this!

These are the player cards that the students pick at random before the game starts.  They use the paydays and assets listed on their character card to guide what they earn throughout the game.

Below is the score sheet the students used to calculate their change in earnings throughout the game.  Since they had just learned how to calculate percentages, it was an opportunity to reinforce what they had learned in math class.  Some were a bit confused at first, but caught on.  In later periods, I made an overhead and we went through the process once as a class, using examples from the game and it ran much more smoothly.

At the end of class, I asked who the winners had been with a show of hands.  Out of those students, I asked who had started with a larger salary and some assets, and out of five periods, all confirmed that they had.  I used this as a springboard to a small discussion on the nature of the Capitalist system and reinforced some of the barriers for the working poor.  It was fun for the students and I think it really sharpened the pictures that I had been trying to create in their minds as to what the Industrial Revolution looked like.