6 GM - The Chain Game - All

Name of Lesson: Math Equity
Grade Level: 6
Subject: Math
Overview and Purpose:
To bridge math with the issues of peace and conflict and to connect such issues to the
students’ lives at XX Elementary school.
Students will achieve an understanding of the causes and effects of global conflict. They
will acquire a basic understanding of corporate bullying and power imbalances. They will
discuss possible resolutions and reflect on these issues as they pertain to the Chester Le
Materials Needed:
- Book: If the World were a village
- Graphs (extractions from the above book)
- Cards:
Types of cards
1. Chance
2. Environmental damage
3. Trader /Negotiator
4. Conflict
5. Natural Disaster
6. Workplace safety
- Monopoly Money
- ‘Social Spending/Silent Auction’ worksheets ( 1 per group)
- Bags of ‘resources’ for each group
Group Resources:
Group1 (group of 5) 8 rulers, 6 scissors, a lot of newspaper, 8 glue, 4 pencils, no
Group 2 (group of 4) – 4 scissors, 4 glue, 4 rulers, newspaper, 4 pencils, a bit of
construction paper
Group 3 (group of 4) – a lot of construction paper, some newspaper 1 pair of scissors,
1 glue,1 pencil
Group 4 (group of 4) – some construction paper, a bit of newspaper, a ruler,
Group 5 (group of 5) some newspaper, some construction paper,1 pair of scissor
Lesson Outline:
9:00 – Intro:
- Introduce group members, introduce theme “think global, act local”
- Read the first passage from If the World were a Village and connect to our lesson.
- Explain the purpose of the game and provide directions.
Purpose of the Game: Students must produce as many links as possible for their group,
using the resources provided. Each link given to the ‘Global Bank’ will be exchanged for
money. The group that has earned the most amount of money by the end of the game is
the winner.
Instructions for ‘The Global Economy’ Game (to run for approximately 50 minutes):
- Teachers will act as mediators and will be designated a specific area of the
classroom to monitor.
- Each group will select 1 trader and 1 negotiator to represent their group. These
jobs entail taking chains up to the Global Bank and negotiating for resources with
other groups during the allotted times, respectively.
- Students are divided into groups of 4 or 5. Each group has been given a bag of
resources which they may use to construct their chains. Each bag has a letter (ie,
A, B, C, etc). This letter distinguishes them from other countries
- Each chain consists of 5 links. Each link created must be 30 cm. in height by 2
inches in width.
- Only the trader may bring the chain up to the ‘Global Bank’ at the front of the
room. If students have produced a chain which is in accordance to the required
measurements (as determined and measured by the teacher monitor stationed at
the front of the class representing a banker), they will receive 50 ‘dollars.’
- After this exchange, the banker must ensure that that group receives a check mark
under the country letter (A piece of chart paper is placed on the front blackboard
with the country letters down the vertical axis and ‘number of chains’ along the
horizontal axis). This is to monitor how many chains have been produced by each
- As students are producing chains, teacher monitors will survey the class and offer
different cards to groups. Each card will have an instruction that the group must
abide by. For example, if a group is given a ‘workplace hazard’ card that says
‘There has been a chemical spill in your factory and production materials have
been destroyed. 2 of your rulers are temporarily out of service’, a monitor will
take these rulers away from the group and return to the group them after a few
minutes (this time period is flexible). Additionally, if a student has been
temporarily withdrawn from the group, ensure that there is an area of the room for
such students to sit and watch until they are told by a monitor that they may
reenter the game.
- Every 10 minutes, there will be an announcement made by teacher monitors
explaining that another trading session will commence. At this point, the
negotiators from each group may circulate the groups and barter with other tables
for any resources that they may need. Each bartering period will last 3 minutes.
- At the 25 minute mark, monitors will announce to the class that chains
constructed of newspaper have dropped in value (to 25 dollars); however, those
constructed of construction paper is now being valued at 100 dollars. Also, if a
group wishes to purchase a stapler from the Global Bank for a price of 150
dollars, any subsequent chains made from staples rather than glue will be worth
100 dollars. *Note: Monitors should mark on graph construction paper chains in a
different colour marker from that used for newspaper chains. This will help make
it easier at the end to determine which groups were able to produce more
construction paper chains than other groups. Be sure to ask students during the
discussion period how/why this was the case!
An announcement is made that chain production must stop and the Global Bank is now
On Bar Graph #1 (pre-made and hung on board – country letters along the bottom axis
with money amounts on vertical axis). Have each group announce how much money they
earned. This is a good point to begin discussion of resource distribution. As each group
announces their final profit, ask them how many resources they began with. How did this
amount help or hinder their production?
- Teacher monitor will graph the results as groups submit their profits. Ask: How can
this be connected to global trade, wealth/power distribution and (im)balances in the real
Hand out ‘Social Spending’ Worksheets – 1 to each table.
Explain that, as countries, each group must decide how they would like to spend their
money they have earned during chain production. What do they consider to be the most
important thing for the citizens of their nation to have access to? What do they consider
to be least important? Have the students rank in order of importance.
Explain that countries will have the opportunity to purchase those goods/services which
they desire. Give 1 or 2 minutes to then select a group member who will represent their
nation during the auction.
~ 10: 35
Silent Auction:
Directions for the Silent Auction
- On the board, the different goods and services are written.
- It is a silent auction. The goal is to acquire some goods/services for your country.
The selected group member will stand if they wish to make a purchase. The
monitors will begin at a price (50 dollars). Teachers running the auction will raise
the price by certain intervals (this is at their discretion as it will depend on how
much money the groups earned during the previous portion). If a group is willing
to put in an offer, the selected member will silently stand. They will continue to
stand as the price rises and until they are the last person standing. Group
members may motion or signal as a means of communicating to the standing
member. The group with the ‘winning’ purchase will be given a card with the
good/service that they have bought.
The auction will continue until all goods/services are sold.
Ask groups to announce what they were able to purchase.
- Who felt they weren’t able to purchase what they needed/wanted?
- Who felt they were?
- Why did this situation occur? How did some groups end up with so much more
than others?
Use graphs created to explain that in actuality, these are the percentages of citizens who
have access to the services/goods that your nations purchased.
Ask how the amount of profit made during the game affected students’ abilities to make
purchases during the auction. Draw links with the class to the real world.
15 – 20 minutes (or longer if time!)
Conclude presentation and continue to bridge the lesson to peace and conflict.
Ask what conflicts arose during the first portion of the lesson (chain production)?
What were some strategies that your group used to increase profit (encourage all answers
to be shared. This is a time to discuss bribery, stealing, etc that students may have
engaged in. Explain that students will not be in trouble for engaging in such dishonesties
as these strategies reflect strategies used in the real world and this game is being used to
explore such issues.
Was it difficult to stay peaceful and maintain honesty during the game? Why?
Next, link to peace and conflict as they pertain to the students and their school.
How does conflict affect our lives at school?
Why is cooperation necessary?
Can you make connections with what you noticed during the game and what you
experience at school? (ie, some students having more then others, wanting what others
having, sharing (or not), etc.)
Conclude lesson with passage from If the World were a Village (knowing who our
neighbours are, where they live and how they live will help us live in peace). Expand and
discuss possibilities as to why knowing and understanding can lead to peace.
Notes to Teachers:
- During the chain making game, don’t interrupt any conflicts amongst groups or group
members. Don’t intercept any stealing or dishonest activities that you may notice. These
conflicts/strategies will be a good stepping stone for the later discussion on why conflict
arises and how resource and wealth discrepancies are often dealt with.
- During the first portion of the game, monitors may want to help ‘direct’ which group is
producing the most chains.’ Hopefully at the end of the game, the group which began
with the most resources will earn the largest profit. In contrast, the group which had the
fewest number of resources should have the smallest profit and therefore will also not be
able to purchase as much during the silent auction (as the goal is to use the game as
reflection of real life activities and issues). As such, as monitors tally the number of
chains submitted, it will help them to determine which groups to hand out the various
cards to. If another group is catching up for some reason, the monitors may want to give
1 or 2 more cards in order to slow them down. The purpose is to reflect as accurately as
possible global trade in the real world.
Lesson Extensions:
Language Arts – writing letters to politicians, political/social activism
Social Studies – Canada’s links to the world (sweatshops, child labour, human rights, etc)
Math – Introduction to Data Management
Geography- examining different nations’ resource/natural wealth, physical geography,
Rank Your Preference for Social Spending
1 and 2 – Most Important
3 and 4 – Somewhat Important
– Least Important
_____ Access to Water
_____ Sanitation (sewers, water filtration, garbage pick up)
_____ Electricity
_____ Shelter
_____ Education
Ambassadors’ signatures:
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