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BUS: CTE Intro - Eco Island Challenge

Time Frame

1 class periods of 60 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Social & Civic Responsibility


Jeff Hinton


This is an activity that teaches the basics of Economics including basic economic decision making, scarcity, division of labor, etc.


Microsoft Excel 2003 or 2007 needed for each student.

Background for Teachers


Each student should have access to the main Eco Island Challenge spreadsheet. The captain should also have access to the "Captain's Log"

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students should understand basic economic concepts. It would be advisable to have a followup discussion with them about the economic concepts of making economic choices, scarcity, division of labor, etc. Hopefully, students will have realized on their own that the characters have different abilities and this would make a good jumping off point for discussing the above concepts.

Instructional Procedures

Divide students into groups of 6 (ideally) or 7 and identify the captain. If you have a 7th member of a group, they will maintain the "Captain's Log" If you have 6, one student (Kim) will maintain the captain's log.

With the aid of an LCD projector, open the EcoIsland Challenge and play the embedded PowerPoint explaining the situation. (Click on the map on the opening spreadsheet)

Show the students how to select their character on the first spreadsheet (pull down menu) and assign them characters or allow them to choose their own characters.

Hand to each student a copy of the tracking sheet (can be found on the "individual" tab of the captain's log spreadsheet).

After students open the spreadsheet, they should choose their character and then click on the "Day 3" tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet. They will decide individually how many hours they spend doing each of the possible activities on the island on Day 3.

When they finish Day 3, they will record the results on the tracking sheet and report to their captain who will record each student's information on the captain log for that day. After each day, they may discuss in their teams any strategies they may have for the following day. You may tell them this or just allow it to happen naturally.

It is important that the whole class stay together, so you will want to give them ample time to complete each day's activity and then allow them to continue to the next day as an entire class. The activity doesn't work as well if they don't all stay on the same day at the same time.

As the captain completes the log for each day, a message will show up on the captain's log with information on what happened that day and instructions for continuing.

The first team to collect 100 of each commodity and keep them through the end of the day is declared the winner. A message will show up on the captain's log informing them they have enough commodities to leave the island. They can't leave the island, though, unless the captain has recorded ALL of the teammates results for the current day. Have the other teams continue to work to see how long it takes them to be cleared to leave the island.


The Big 5 of Economics can also be discussed in conjunction with this lesson.

Created: 08/04/2008
Updated: 01/19/2018