Tragedy of the Commons & Command Economies Lesson (Distance Learning!)

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 Digital Resource for Students
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Who doesn’t love a personality test? It’s almost irresistible to take the questionnaire and find out more about yourself. Well, in this lesson, I’ve turned these tempting quizzes upside-down and used them to teach the Tragedy of the Commons. All the options ask students to choose between two terrible options. My favorite is “are you more likely to leave your gum under your desk chair in your room or at school?” Once students complete the 10-question quiz, we analyze their results and talk about human behavior and tendencies. Students are completely engaged and that’s always my goal!

This lesson will teach your students about the Tragedy of the Commons and command economies. For this lesson, students will first take the questionnaire, then debrief their answers to the quiz, and then learn about the Tragedy of the Commons through a short reading. Next, they’ll learn (briefly) about command economies, emphasizing the connection to publicly owned land. Finally, students will research a current or past command economy and analyze its successes and failures using 8 guiding questions (in worksheet format). I love this lesson because it makes economic concepts completely relevant to students. Enjoy!

The best part is that you can use this entire lesson for distance or digital learning! All resources (except the lesson plan) come in a printable PDF version AND a Google Slides version. Students just make a copy and they can use all the included resources!

This resource is also a part of this discounted bundle: Foundations & Fundamentals of Economics Unit Bundle

What to Expect:

  • Tragedy of the Commons Questionnaire (PDF, Google Slides)
  • Tragedy of the Commons Debrief, Reading, & Questions Worksheet (transitions smoothly from Tragedy of the Commons to Command Economies - PDF, Google Slides)
  • Command Economies Research Assignment (PDF, Google Slides)
  • Suggested lesson plan (PDF)

*None of the resources in this product are editable

I usually teach this in one 50-minute period.

Note: all Google Drive versions appear in the lesson plans of each individual lesson. As of right now, there is no way to copy a folder in Google so for right now you will need to open the lesson plan and make a copy of each digital resource using the provided links and instructions.

Materials Needed:

  • Class set of included worksheets
  • Computer for research

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Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
50 minutes
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