The Industrial Game is a simulation where students invest in factories and transportation networks to try to make money through the Industrial Revolution. Students always want to play this game again, and many play at home to try to beat the high score!
The simulation is a great introduction to the Industrial Revolution and shows the pace of technological change, the interaction between international events and the economy, and the feedback loops that fueled industrialization.
Played on an Excel spreadsheet, students choose a district of England and decide when to build and upgrade factories and invest in transportation networks, balancing their ability to produce with their ability to move products to consumers, all while ensuring they have the proper amount of cash to invest and coal to run their factories. Each turn, the teacher reads a new development (such as a new technological advancement or a new war) that changes the price of products on the market or the availability of technologies to purchase. Students make their purchasing decisions and try to earn the most money!
I love using simulations in the classroom because they create very salient memories for students. Many technological, economic, social, and international issues arise in the game, which we can continue to reference throughout the rest of the unit. Anything you teach relating to industrialization will be touched on in this game.
- student instructions handout
- teacher instructions
- Excel game file (requires Microsoft Excel with macros enabled)
- Debrief worksheet (with suggested answers)
[This activity was inspired by "Industralia" by Dave Palmieri, presented at the NEH Summer Seminar 2000]