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In one simulation twelfth grade economics students created badges under the conditions in a command economy, in which the government dictated every aspect of production, and then they created badges under the conditions of a market economy, in which they had economic freedom, competition and a profit motive. The students were able to conclude that when all the production decisions are dictated by the government, as is the case in command economies, the result is unmotivated workers and shoddy products, whereas the products created under the conditions of a market economy result in higher quality products, a variety of products and a happier work environment. In fact the students became so frustrated with the government in the first simulation they were asking to move before the simulation was even complete!
In a second simulation, students contrasted the use of scarce resources in a public property situation versus a private property situation. In each situation, the students owned a fishing business in which they were in competition with their classmates. In the first year, fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, most groups completely depleted the fish population. Whereas in the second year while fishing in their private ponds they took care to preserve some of their fish with the implicit understanding that the law protects their private property, and they can use it to prosper in the future; in essence, scarce resources are used more efficiently when they are privately owned.
Students enjoy learning in these interactive simulations, and it is a joy to watch them discover economic concepts through the activities.