Free Market Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

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

In this lesson plan, we teach our students about free markets and capitalism through a simulation that demonstrates the advantages of free markets and the limitations government intervention can introduce.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define 'free market' and 'capitalism'
  • Understand the basic forces at work in a free market system
  • Understand the limitations of capitalism


1 hour


  • A few dozen cookies (enough so that you have 2-3 per student), of three different types
  • play currency or something representing currency (e.g., red marbles)

Key Vocabulary

At the end of this lesson, students should be able to define the following vocabulary terms:

  • free market
  • capitalism
  • factors of production
  • market price

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.


Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.


  • Show students the video lesson Free Market: Definitions, Advantages, & Examples.
  • Hold a class discussion (5-10 minutes) to ensure your students understand the basic principles of the free market. Be sure to use examples (or ask your students to name examples) of free markets in action.
  • Have your students take the quiz
  • Show your students the video lesson Capitalism and the Free Market: Definition & Limitations.
  • Hold another short class discussion (5-10 minutes). Using the same real-life examples from the earlier discussion, ask students if they are aware of any government intervention or limitations on these free markets. If they cannot identify any, ask them for examples of possible limitations.

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