Academic Decathlon teacher Grace Raun has introduced a new way of learning about different economic systems. Raun has turned the different Academic Decathlon periods into their own states, complete with their own elected officials and economic systems.
“Economics is a hard concept and so when you experience the actual structure of different economies it makes it easier to analyze,” Raun said.
During the three weeks of economics, the economic system the classes will be trying is communism, and when Raun returns to teach social science, the students will experience a capitalist economy.
This is not the first time Raun has gotten her students involved in a class-wide game and this one will be her sixth game. Junior Parker Koos had Raun as a teacher in middle school and has experienced some of her games before, and so far, he thinks this one is one of his favorites.
“Initially I was kind of scared, but I think I’m really enjoying it now,” Koos said. “I realized that with the game we’re playing now there’s a lot more opportunities for political corruption than I originally thought.”
While Koos seems to enjoy the game, senior Stacie Thompson has some mixed feelings.
“It’s kind of chaotic. I know it’s supposed to teach us about government and economics, but I feel like it’s getting out of hand and people are taking it a little too seriously,” Thompson said.
Even though they’re in different periods, Koos is one of the students adding to the chaotic nature of this game.
“I really like bribing people,” Koos said. “I bought Gatorade that I’m now reusing as bribes and today [Oct. 2] in class I’m combining those political bribes to become leader of the secret police.”
One of the main rules in the classroom is that students are only allowed public property and there is no private property.
“The hardest thing has been to remember not to bring any private items into the class by accident,” junior Kevin Pynes said. “I sharpened my pencil on a private pencil sharpener without asking the rest of the commune and I got shut down so that was a little embarrassing.”
Even grades are impacted by this setup. While everyone has their actual, private grade and no one’s actual grade will be impacted by their classmates, each period has a public class average.
Raun has even gone so far as to have her students turn in tokens that they have earned in order to buy their homework and quizzes.
“I think that’s hilarious that they have to spend money to purchase homework and they do it,” Raun said.