Great Depression Simulation Game
On July 11th, about halfway through the program, we conducted a simulation of the Stock Market Crash with our students to help transition from the Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression. We had intentionally made it seem as if we were continuing discussion of the Roaring Twenties on this certain day, so our students were not in the mindset of saving money and a depressed economy. We set the tone of the game by introducing what a stock market is and introducing my two co-teachers as the class' stockbrokers. The students were placed in pre-selected groups and asked to come up with a team name. They were then introduced to the seven companies from the 1920s in which they would have a chance to invest and buy stocks. Each round, when the stock market bell rang, the students would be able to follow the upwards trends of their profits to buy and sell stocks from the market. Intermittently as the game went on, we would introduce national announcements, such as the death of President Harding, to provide contextual clues as to the behavior of the market. Surprisingly, only one student seemed to catch on, as she was counting up her thousands of dollars in monopoly money, when she asked "wait, when was the Great Depression again?" It wasn't enough to set the student back though, so when the market did indeed crash, only one team made a profit and the students were reeling from the monopoly money they had lost.
This activity was the most rewarding to conduct from the summer as it engaged all of our students, no matter their learning level, and we were able to see teh full comprehension of each and every student as they positively interacted with their peers. It taught me the power of scaffolding and committing a large amount of class time to instruction before a large scale activity, as well as the importance of differentiation in class instruction.
Please select the following link to reference the PowerPoint used to lead a simulation of the Stock Market Crash for our students, as well as our Direct Teacher Presentations on the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression.