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Thursday, May 11, 2017

My Two Most Requested Documents

Last night I forgot to silence my phone before bed. Not ten minutes after putting my head on my pillow I heard a Google Drive alert. I looked over at my phone to see that someone had requested access to my file titled Life on Minimum Wage. That is one of the two most frequently requested documents that I have. The other is titled Captains of Industry. Both documents outline hands-on economics lesson for middle school and high school students. I have now uploaded both documents to Box.com and I have embedded them below for viewing and downloading.

The purpose of Life on Minimum Wage is for students to recognize how difficult it is to save money when your only job(s) pay minimum wage without benefits. To win at Life on Minimum Wage the students have to reach five financial goals that they select. To earn money the students have to complete the tasks of their assigned jobs. The students then have to pay required bills before using money for their selected financial goals. As the game progresses students will be issued "surprise" cards which require them to spend money on things like speeding tickets, trips to a health clinic, and increases in rent.

All of the jobs in Life on Minimum Wage are connected so that if one "business" slows production or closes, the workers of another business are also effected. The goal here is to demonstrate the effects of a business closing on a small town's economy.


Captains of Industry is an economics simulation activity. The original version of this activity was developed by my colleague Jason Long. What I'm sharing here is the activity as I've modified it for my classroom. My version is about 75% the same as Jason's original. The point of the activity is for students to experience and experiment with the tactics of American businessmen in the second half of the 19th century. Before trying the activity it is best for students to have some familiarity with the business practices of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Morgan.


(Note, before you email me about the Browning rifle goal card in Life on Minimum Wage, please understand that these were goals chosen by my students in a rural community. You're welcome to change that card for use in your own classroom).