Learning doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Learning takes place during play as well as lecture. But spending time playing games in school has been tabooed and many teachers won’t take the chance.
In an effort to change the conversation about games in the classroom I have launched my first game for the classroom – Monopoly.
Students actually play the game! They pick their tokens, roll the dice, purchase properties, and try to bankrupt each other. It takes time – an entire class period (minimum) in fact. But major learning happens.
Students will learn about basic economic principles and have an opportunity to use it. Applying knowledge, even if it is theoretical, helps students understand the terms better, see their importance, and the problems they pose.
I have included four different game scenarios to help the game move along faster. No one is interested in a five-hour monopoly game. The scenarios assume different economic conditions giving students a unique experience playing one of Americas games.
When the class period has ended, students have end-of-game summaries to complete. The summaries guide students to review new terms and concepts and how game play simulated specific economic scenarios. Asking students to determine if things were fair, is a great way to assess their understanding. They have to define the terms and apply them to a “real life” scenario and make an opinion about the fairness of something. Defending their position is the final determination of whether they understand or not.
When Do You Teach with Monopoly?
1. The days leading up to an event that disrupts students attention spans. (Homecoming, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break).
2. After the students have been introduced to the game it makes an excellent substitute lesson.
3. I know teachers are not supposed to say it but there are days when learning or teaching just isn’t going to happen. We all have these days. Break out the Monopoly games.
I teach History. Can I Teach with Monopoly?
I taught world history and I designed the game to be played in history classes and economics classes. Any history class will have economic standards they have to teach. Why not teach economics with a game?
- Four different scenarios that allows students to apply their knowledge about economics. Income inequality can be a difficult concept for students who have never earned an income. Or debt obligations. But by using these scenarios students get to apply the knowledge, not just learn the vocabulary.
- End-of-game summaries for the students to complete. Print them out and give a copy to each student. Or save a tree and project the summary on the whiteboard.
- PowerPoint presentation in PDF format that introduces students to the important economic vocabulary as well as sharing the history of Monopoly and the symbolism.
How Long Does It Take?
Minimum two days. One day to present the PowerPoint and rules. One day to play the game. You can take longer if you wish but the first time will take two days.
Be brave and play a game. Buy a copy of Teaching with Monopoly, today.
All pictures contained within this article are the property of the author.