This is my favorite lesson/activity/simulation of the school year. I use it to introduce the causes of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, but it can be used to teach a lot of important lessons. It is perfect for looking at boom and bust cycles, supply and demand, the recent economic recession, personal finance, and buying on credit. It is also a great way to get the kids to do math outside of their math class. Not only do my students learn a lot, but they absolutely love it. So what is this simulation all about? It is a cooperative learning simulation where student groups become “farmers”. They plot their farm on a map (provided) and choose to raise either corn, cattle, wheat, or any combination of those items. They draw cards each round to see how their season went. What the kids don’t realize is that the teacher is manipulating the cards. Early in the simulation, almost every card available is a good card. Later in the simulation they turn into great cards. Everybody is making a ton of money (Boom time/pre-Depression). The groups expand their farms to make more money. They get very competitive as they expand and try to get the biggest farm and make the most money. However, as they expand, their expenses go up as well (buying on credit). When the teacher decides it is time, the bad cards come out and everybody goes bust. Prices are too low to make any money, yet their expenses are still sky high. They try to downsize their farms, but nobody is willing to buy (like the recent housing crash). When all is said and done, students experience the emotions of boom and bust economics. Length of simulation can be varied depending on your needs, but it typically takes me somewhere between 4-7 class periods (50 minutes). It does require some initial prep time (laminating, making copies of map, getting wet/dry erase markers, sorting cards), but it is well worth it. Most documents are MS Word format. They can be converted to PDF upon request. A detailed description of how to prepare and carry out this simulation with success is included with this purchase. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the simulation.