Teaching Activities (Free)

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

Organic Goodie cartoon | Zinn Education Project

In this frequently used lesson, the teacher creates a three-tier society—owners, workers, and unemployed— and, as the owner, seeks to profit through playing on and creating divisions between workers and the unemployed. Can students overcome those divisions and unite for needed changes? This lesson lets students experience some of the pressures that lead workers to organize. Depending on what happens in class, students either glimpse the possibility of organizing and practice overcoming cynicism, or gain an experience out of which their attitudes can be directly discussed.

This can be used as the first lesson in a curriculum on labor history. It is fun—at times exciting. And, it suggests a basic skill in social analysis: learning to identify the differing, even opposing, interests of groups within society.

The Power In Our HandsAvailable for Download

This is one of the 16 lessons available from The Power In Our Hands. Other lessons available for individual download are:

Unit I: Basic Understandings
Unit II: Changes in the Workplace/”Scientific Management”
Unit III: Defeats, Victories, Challenges
Unit IV: Our Own Recent Past
Unit V: Continuing Struggle


Order the book online from Rethinking Schools.