Did you know a stenographer named Elizabeth Magie created a board game named “Landlord’s Game” in 1903 that became the design for the classic Monopoly? An anti-monopolist, Magie created two sets of rules: an anti-monopolist set in which all were rewarded when wealth was created, and an monopolist set in which the goal was to create monopolist and crush opponents. Her original design featured a circular board, scrawled with three words that have been endured, “Go to Jail.”
So how did Charles Darrow get the credit? Darrow was introduced to the game while visiting friends in Philadelphia. By then, the game had morphed. Folks had added miniature houses and the Quaker community in Atlantic City mirrored the families who lived on roads such as Pennsylvania and Vintner avenues, as well as Park Place, while servants lived on Baltic Avenue, in a lower-income neighborhood. Struggling financially and needing cash for his special needs child, Darrow illustrated a new board and sought to copyright the game. Parker Brothers purchased the rights and fashioned one of the most popular games in world history. Translated into 37 languages, over 250 millions sets of Monopoly have been sold.
This is cultural history! And your students can refashion the game and the objectives to represent the Great Depression & New Deal, the greatest economic crises in American history.
The Great Depression and New Deal Monopoly Game project is designed to culminate a unit on one of the greatest economic crises in American history. Students have studied its causes and consequences, as well as President Hoover and President Roosevelt administrations’ responses, its controversies and challenges. They are familiar with the Great Depression and New Deal, including significant people, legislative acts, political philosophy, and physical environment, etc.
NOTE: This activity can be modified to focus solely on Great Depression or New Deal. I have combined for students to better understand its intimate connection.
Great Depression/New Deal Monopoly Assignment Sheet, attached
Design Sheet, attached
Brainstorm Sheets, attached
Grading Rubric, attached
Stem questions for Figures, Board Spaces, Action Cards, attached
Group Evaluation, attached
Board Game for Student Evaluation, attached