Capitalism Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

This lesson plan uses an informative video lesson, discussion questions and a hands-on, interactive marketing activity to introduce your students to the concept of capitalism.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the basic tenets of capitalism
  • Summarize the benefits of operating as an employee or as a business owner in a capitalist system
  • Recognize capitalism and capitalist practices in the world around them


60 - 90 minutes


  • several pieces of poster board and permanent markers
  • fake currency

Key Vocabulary

  • Capitalism

Curriculum Standards


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


  • Begin the lesson by showing the What is Capitalism? - Definition & Examples video to the class
  • Hold a short class discussion (5-10 minutes) to ensure your students understand capitalism. Some example discussion questions include:
    • Who owns the means of production in capitalism?
    • Who gets to keep the profits from a sale in a capitalist system?
    • How do workers exercise choice in capitalism?
    • How does taxation fit into capitalism?

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