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Karl Marx Video Questions and Readings

Karl Marx Video Questions and Readings
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Common Core Standards
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This activity is designed to introduce students to Karl Marx and the tenets of Marxism and communism. It is designed for a 12th grade economics class, but could also be used in 12th grade government or 10th grade European or world history class (e.g. during a unit on the Industrial Revolution). The video that the questions are based on is the School of Life's "POLITICAL THEORY - Karl Marx" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSQgCy_iIcc).

This assignment is fairly rigorous. Students should have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of economics, including societal economic values (freedom, equality, efficiency, etc.), private vs. public ownership, the profit motive, wages, and the ideas of Adam Smith. Students should be able to write legibly and clearly, and be able to watch a video online. It is up to the teacher whether or not to require complete sentences, but the final question would be a good prompt for a paragraph response or short essay.

This can be used in class (as I did), with the whole class watching the video and answering the questions. I would recommend periodically pausing the video to allow students to write answers and/or discuss the topic at hand. The first question in particular is supposed to be answered with the numbered "headings" throughout the video, so pause it when those come up. When the video is over, allow students time to finish their answers, and then discuss them in groups or the whole class.

This would be followed by silent reading of the Manifesto. For annotation, students should circle unknown words, highlight or underline key ideas, and write comments and questions in the margins. It is assumed that students have already annotated other assignments, and may require additional scaffolding.

This assignment could be assigned as homework or finished as homework (i.e. video in class, reading at home). It is recommended that the teacher be familiar with Marx and his writings, and be able to explain these complex topics. The teacher should emphasize that students must reach their own conclusions, whether they respect Marx or reject his ideas. Again, this should be included on a broader unit on capitalism and communism, and it is recommended to expose students to Adam Smith beforehand. The writings of Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes are also recommended for additional discussion and reading, particularly for an economics class. This handout can also be used for a broader assignment, such as an essay comparing economic systems and philosophies.
Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Not Included
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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