This activity explores how common usage of a limited, potentially renewable resource invariably leads to its exploitation. In this simulation, students imagine that they are fishermen sharing access to a common fishing pond. Two different stages of the simulation are performed. In the first, students are not allowed to communicate, and each fisher has no knowledge of how many fish have been taken before them. In this, the second, students are allowed to strategize, plan, and learn from their experiences. In this way, the ability (or not) to communicate is the independent variable, and the size of the resource over time is the dependent variable. After completing this activity students should understand the conditions that lead to a "tragedy of the commons", learn strategies that prevent the destruction of a common resource, and apply these strategies to global environmental issues and suggest solutions. The activity is discussed in progress.


  • Science > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10


Space Science,Chemistry,Middle School,NSDL,Environmental science,Science,High School,Ecology, Forestry and Agriculture,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20061003230457389T,NSDL_SetSpec_dlese.org,Elementary School,Social Sciences,Space sciences,Physical sciences,Astronomy,Physics,Geoscience,Earth science



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