Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Hey, I Don't Have Enough Stuff!

Nina Treadway
Bay District Schools


Students discover through this simulated activity that resources are unequally distributed throughout the world and that regions use resources differently.


The student writes text, notes, outlines, comments, and observations that demonstrate comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student knows world patterns of resource distribution and utilization.


-Task Sheet - one per group (located in Associated files)
-Large manila envelopes - one per group
-Paper Clips
-Colored Paper (8 * x 11:
Gold, Green, Red, Purple, Blue and White


1. Teachers should prepare enough envelopes or have enough supplies to cover eight groups for each class period participating in the simulation. There should be two of each numbered envelope for each class period participating. Number the envelopes to keep up with which group has what resources.

Envelope #1
-Two pairs of scissors
-One ruler
-20 paper clips
-Two pencils
-Two 4- squares of red paper
-Two 4- squares of white paper

Envelope #2
-One pair of scissors
-One bottle of glue
-Two sheets of each of blue, white and gold paper

Envelope #3
-Two pens
-Two sheets of each green, gold and white paper

Envelope #4
-One sheet of each of green, blue, red and purple paper

2. Divide the classroom into two hemispheres with a clearly marked hemisphere line. Masking tape or electrical tape on the floor makes a good line.
3. Arrange the desks in tables of 3 or 4 depending on how many students should be in each group.
4. Copy the task sheet and attach it to the front of each envelope.
5. Prepare and copy the discussion questions for the assessment.


(Note: This lesson was adapted from a lesson written by Willow Armstrong published in the Florida Geographic Alliance.)

Background: Prior to this simulation, students have learned and reviewed necessary terminology such as capital, natural resources, developed and developing countries. Students have identified examples of wealthy, industrialized, developed, and developing countries. Students have discussed trade, trade agreements, and foreign aid and their impact on government and economy.

1. Divide the classroom into two sections which will represent two hemispheres. (It does not matter if the hemispheres are eastern and western or northern and southern).

2. Divide the students into eight groups. There should be four groups per hemisphere. Each student group will represent a country in that hemisphere.

3. Give each group an envelope with the task sheet attached to the front of the envelope. Each envelope contains the capital and natural resources which allow the students to complete the five tasks. The capital and natural resources take the form of construction paper, pencils, pens, glue, paper clips, etc. (See Attached File.) The five tasks represent food, clothing, shelter, industry, and education. (Note: There are more than enough resources for each country to complete the task if they share/trade materials.)

4. Tell students that their groups are countries that must complete the tasks on the sheet by the end of the class period. The description of the tasks is listed in the attached file. They may not travel across the hemisphere line or show any aggressive actions toward another country such as invade, declare war, or steal. (Note: The students may not cross the hemisphere because the simulation will only work successfully with the four envelopes per hemisphere. There will be too many resources if the students are allowed to cross to the other hemisphere.) Students may name their countries if they wish to do so.

5. Allow the students to open the envelopes and begin their quest.

6. Teachers should refrain from answering any questions or giving any hints to help students solve their problems.

7. As each country finishes the tasks, the teacher should check for accuracy. It is important that the students have the correct dimensions for each task. Some of the tasks have specific dimensions. These dimensions are described in the attached file. Some students may try to estimate the measurements in an attempt to avoid trading with other countries.

8. After each country has completed all of the tasks correctly, draw attention to the variation in products produced by each country.

9. Begin debriefing by using the debriefing questions included in an attached file. Let these questions lead to a class discussion about the simulation.

10. Each student should then receive a set of discussion questions to answer in order to assess their understanding of resource distribution. The discussion questions are included as an attached file. Explain the rubric or how the discussion questions will be assessed before the students are assigned the questions.

11. Students should see how resources are unequally distributed throughout the world and that the same resources can be used to complete different tasks or vice versa. For example, the paper chain can be put together in a variety of ways (glue, paper clips, etc.) using a variety of colors.


Observe the students' ability to identify the resources and information needed to solve problems and the ability to procure resources to complete a task. Teachers may wish to use an anecdotal log to keep notes on student participation and understanding.

Assess answers to Discussion Questions answered after the debriefing period.

Questions are designed to show understanding of resource distribution throughout the world. Points may be assigned for the discussion questions assessing clarity of thought, expression, and grasp of the concept of unequal resource distribution.


Have students actually negotiate and write trade agreements between countries.

Students will map the patterns of world resources on world and individual continent maps and compare regions and resources.
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