Watch out for the following common student misconceptions that occur during Trade Rule game play:


  • Students may be tempted to choose a trade partner/island based on superficial reasons, but choosing carefully is essential to their success in the game. Guide students to understand that they must make this decision based on which partner differs the most from their own in terms of labor and capital amounts.

  • Make sure students are familiar with the term ‘capital-intensive’, meaning that some goods require more capital (technical equipment and machinery), such as cell phones.

  • Also make sure students understand the meaning and implications of ‘labor-intensive’ goods, which require less production equipment and rely mostly on labor (the efforts of the workers), such as jeans.

You can help prevent student misconceptions as well as confusion and off-task behavior using the tips below:


  • Monitor students closely when they are designing their avatar and choosing their avatar’s name. You may want to set a time limit for this portion of game play.

  • For clues during game set up, click on “council”. If it says, “Try to predict how our trade partner will produce”, it means you have to recall whether you picked a capital-intensive or a labor-intensive trade partner. If your trade partner owns a lot of capital, they will produce more cell phones than jeans. Therefore they will be interested in buying jeans from you. This means you should start producing many jeans so you can sell them to your trade partner later on. Click on “production” when you want to start playing.

  • The “help” button is located all the way at the bottom of the screen within a gray bar of menu choices, and provides screenshots of the game with captions explaining what to do at each step of the game.

Filed as:  Common Misconceptions