Tulip Mania: How to Teach Speculative Trading

Most people do not know about tulip mania which took place in the early 1600s in the Dutch United Provinces (Netherlands today). This small history lesson yields fantastic economic learning however and is absolutely essential if students are to understand the Great Depression and the Great Recession later in the school year.

The history and the economics

If you are teaching world or European history then obviously your students need to know the actual history of tulip mania. When tulips became the most expensive commodity in the world they benefited from a very specific set of circumstances. But when tulip mania abruptly ended, historians and economists argue over how detrimental it actually was.

The economics surrounding the history is important as well because it helps students understand later economic phenomenon such as the Great Depression. Even more important is that you give students enough information to help them form an opinion about economics – here, specifically, we are talking about speculative trading. And yes, students should learn what it is and have an opinion about it.

Tulip Mania on TpT

Take this usually short, boring lesson and make it spectacular!

Tulip Mania

Students begin by reading a quick-read history lesson that gives them a concise history of tulip mania. Learning how it began, all of the events that made it possible, and finishing with the debate of the effect on the Dutch economy, students will have all of the information they need to meet state standards and be able to answer questions in end-of-year exams.


Tulip Dollars should be printed on multiple colors.

But students also get to learn more in-depth information about the economics of tulip mania. A short vocabulary workbook outlines all of the words they need to know and introduces them to trading and basic economic concepts such as supply and demand or boom and bust.


Tulip and event cards should be printed on the same color paper so students won’t know what is coming up!

Finally, put this lesson into action! Students play a unique card game designed to help them understand how and why people got caught up in the tulip buying frenzy. Students will participate in a tulip auction where they need to try to make a profit. By cornering the market on a particular breed of tulip, blocking their competitors from acquiring the tulips they need, or whatever strategy they choose, students are ENGAGING in speculative trading, not just memorizing the words.

This is a lesson your students will never forget and can be used throughout the school year if you choose.

What You Get

We’ve already covered that you get the quick-read history lesson and short vocabulary workbook.

You will also get the tulip trading cards, tulip dollars, end-of-lesson summary, and other supporting student documents. If you use every aspect of the resource you will cover multiple Common Core standards as well.


Cards all set up to play! Printing, setup, and gameplay instructions are all included!


Ready to purchase? Click the picture to go to my TpT store!

Tulip Mania


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2 responses to “Tulip Mania: How to Teach Speculative Trading”

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