Civics Today Citizenship, Economics, & You

Chapter 26: Comparing Economic Systems

Web Activity Lesson Plans

In this chapter students read about market and command economies. During the twentieth century, Russia was involved in two world wars, a revolution, and a changing economic system. For many of the Russian people consumer goods were difficult to find. There was no freedom of choice. Today Russia struggles to build a stable, market economy. In this activity students will take a closer look at the changing economy of Russia.

Lesson Description
Students will visit a PBS Web site feature entitled "Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World's Economy." On the page detailing Russia's economy during the twentieth century, they will find a detailed time line of important events. After answering several questions, students will choose five of the events and create an illustrated time line. They will explain why the events they have chosen are the most important. To help students further understand some of the events listed, teachers should explain the term "gulag."

Instructional Objectives
  1. The learner will be able to describe important events that affected the Russian economy during the twentieth century.
  2. The learner will be able to describe the effect of a command economy on the Russian people.
  3. The learner will be able to evaluate events and determine the most important.
  4. The learner will be able to create an illustrated time line.
Student Web Activity Answers
  1. In 1910, Russia had a capitalist economic system.
  2. He failed to organize an effective war economy and he had too much money printed, thus fueling inflation.
  3. A command economy was imposed in 1929 by Joseph Stalin.
  4. The irony of Russia's energy situation was that the USSR was the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, but there was a chronic energy shortage for consumers.
  5. Students' time lines will vary.
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