“Where would we be without trade?” This was the key question with which the MYP 5 Individuals and Societies students had to grapple in a recent classroom simulation. The game was part of a unit on trade in which the Global Context is Globalisation and Sustainability and the Key Concept is Global Interactions. The unit requires students to explore themes of human cooperation and interconnectedness by investigating the relationship between the free movement of goods and people between nations and the prosperity of those nations. Students examined case studies of successful countries as well as those that have closed themselves off from the outside world, such as North Korea.
As part of the game students were divided into small groups. Each group was assigned the role of an import-export company representative who had the task of travelling to a specific country in order to explore possibilities of trade with that country. Each representative was first given an overview of their country’s economy. This included a description of the goods produced in each as well as possible barriers to trade, such as bureaucratic challenges and tariffs placed on exports. After a period of eight weeks, during which the groups played the game by moving around their countries in search of opportunities to buy and sell, each had to write a letter to their CEO in which they outlined the potential advantages and disadvantages of trading with their country before making a final recommendation as to whether continued trade was feasible or desirable.
The game illustrated the perils of political isolation and highlighted the degree to which our modern world is economically and culturally interdependent. We rely on our neighbours for those resources and ideas which we cannot produce ourselves, just as they depend on us for their needs. If trade in goods and the free movement of labour is inhibited, all of us are impoverished. In a global environment in which some countries have turned their backs on internationalism and become increasingly nationalistic and inward-looking, this was a crucial lesson for our students to consider.
“The activity exposed us to multiple perspectives, helping us to understand the interconnectedness of society that comes with trade.” Sneh, Purav, & Varun
Sayli Tongaonkar, Maria Mistry and Peter Clinton
MYP 5 Individuals and Societies Lesson