Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How Russia Became the Soviet Union

Today in class we did an activity with candy that helped us to understand capitalism, socialism, and communism.  Students were given Tootsie Rolls are were able to "compete" by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for candy.  As time went on we had the rich, the poor, and the middle class.  Some went bankrupt, took out loans from friends, and even resulted to crime to get some candy.  Others enjoyed the fruits of their labor, their good fortune, or the fact that they were just "born into money."

I then socialized the students by evening out how much candy each person had.  Some were thrilled at their change in fortunes while others were upset that their hard work or their savings were now gone.  I, as the government showed them all the candy I had acquired, which made some of the students even more upset.

But something interesting happened.  When I asked who would compete again, fewer students wanted to.  While they weren't happy about it, many of them realized now that there was less reason to compete.  Eventually when I wouldn't have to make things even I pointed out how the class could have slipped into Communism.

We talked about all three economic systems and how they work in vary broad terms.  I pointed out why as Americans we dislike and at times have even feared Communism as it clashes with our principles of private ownership, private property, and the American dream.  We also discussed how Russia took this route and became the Soviet Union, prompting them to leave the Allies during WWI.  You can see below what we discussed:

Students either need to read 244-250 in the big packet or read the entire new packet if they  got the new one for tomorrow.

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