Paper plane factory

Rahul De

paper-planes The discipline of economics studies individual and aggregate human behaviour. Research in economics simulates games to understand individual behaviour and predict aggregate outcomes under certain specified conditions. Games are a useful pedagogical tool too, as they teach participants how individuals react/behave in a given situation. My aim in this article is to describe and explain a game that I have used in my first year under-graduate economics class to teach concepts of production. This game is called ‘The Paper Plane Factory’. The same game can be adapted for high school1 students too, as a lot of the concepts it teaches can be understood quite intuitively. This course module will need to be diluted2 for middle school3 students.

Instructions for teachers

  1. This activity should be organized over two classes. The game itself should be conducted in one class. The second class should be used to discuss the activity and to teach the concepts introduced in this activity.
  2. This activity requires a lot of paper. Use newspapers/used papers to avoid wastage. At least a 100 sheets are required for a class of 40.
  3. Divide the class into groups of different sizes like 2, 3, 5, 7, 9. The minimum group size should be 2 and the maximum should be 9. Two groups can have the same number of students.
  4. Arrange the classroom such that there is one desk allocated to each team. Leave some room around each desk as this activity will become hectic.
  5. Each team should be a given a sketch pen of a different colour.
  6. Bring another teacher to class as the quality control manager.
  7. Create a data entry sheet. You can use the following table.

The author is a senior lecturer at Azim Premji University and is involved in developing the under-graduate economics major program. He is currently in the final stages of his doctoral research which traces the evolution of capitalism in independent India. He can be reached at de.rahul@gmail.com.

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