Economics

Greed as a Weapon: Teaching the Other Iraq War (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Greed as a Weapon: Teaching the Other Iraq War

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 14 pages. Rethinking Schools. A role play investigating the economic consequences of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Economics, Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies
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How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. Rethinking Schools. The mixer role play is based on Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, which shows in exacting detail how government policies segregated every major city in the United States with dire consequences for African Americans.
Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Economics, Laws & Citizen Rights
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Modern Times

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. This lesson uses Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious classic film, Modern Times, to help students think about the impact of “scientific management” on the workplace.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class
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Organic Goodie cartoon | Zinn Education Project

Organic Goodie Simulation

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages. Lesson engages students in a lively simulation that helps them experience some of the pressures that lead workers to organize.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Paper Airplane Simulation

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. In this simulation, students make paper airplanes to learn about the origins and effects of “scientific management”—owners’ attempt to capture workers’ skills and knowledge, and then to exploit that knowledge to reorganize work and cut costs by deskilling workers.
Themes: Economics, Labor
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Michele Roberts, environmental justice coordinator | Zinn Education Project

The Red Dot of Environmental Racism

Teaching Activity. By Alma Anderson McDonald. A teacher looks back on her childhood to discover the meaning of environmental racism. Linda Christensen offers ways to teach about this story with students.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: African American, Climate Justice, Environment, Economics, Racism & Racial Identity
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Shutdown!—Confronting Plant Closures

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. In this role play activity, students assume the roles of union members and attempt to figure out how to respond to a threatened plant closure.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Stealing Home: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and the Loss of Community

Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. Rethinking Schools. Teaching about patterns of displacement and wealth inequality through the history of Chávez Ravine and the building of Dodger Stadium.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, 21st Century
Themes: African American, Economics, Latinx, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class
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“Taylorizing” Burgers: A Fantasy

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 8 pages. In this playful activity, students utilize the principles of “scientific management” to restructure a burger joint—one that has been run a good deal more democratically and imaginatively.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class
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Street scene woodcut | Zinn Education Project

Teaching Sacrifice Zones

Teaching Activity. By Rosemarie Frascella. Rethinking Schools. Our extractive fossil fuel-based economy has always demanded that some people’s homes and health be sacrificed for the benefit of more privileged and powerful others. This article explores how one teacher engages her students in thinking about how “sacrifice zones” play out in their lives.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Economics, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, World History/Global Studies
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Police use tear gas against participants in San Francisco’s 1934 general strike.

Who Made the New Deal? The Economic Recovery Conference Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. Rethinking Schools. Through role play, students explore how different social groups influenced New Deal legislation.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Economics, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing
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The Power In Our Hands: A Curriculum on the History of Work and Workers in the United States

Teaching Guide. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 1988. Role plays and writing activities project high school students into real-life situations to explore the history and contemporary reality of employment (and unemployment) in the U.S.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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Speaking Out: Women, War and the Global Economy

Teaching Guide. By Jan Haaken, Ariel Ladum, et al. 2005. with DVD. Interactive lessons on the 1990s civil war in Sierra Leone and broader issues such as cross-cultural awareness, the global trade in diamonds and guns, and the effects of war on women.
Themes: Economics, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History, World History/Global Studies
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