Tower Building Trade Game

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A simple trade game.


Paper, straws, glue sticks, sellotape, paper clips


Each six represents a country, and they have to build a tower on their table. The tower could represent a school, a hospital or a power station - something important for the future of the country. Don't tell the cubs that the tower has to be big or high or stable, just that they have to build it.

Distribute resources unevenly among the countries. Make it so that some countries have a better deal than others, but also so that some countries are forced to co-operate with others, e.g. give one country straws and paper but nothing to stick them together with. Resources available are paper, straws, sellotape rolls, paperclips and glue sticks.

Don't tell the cubs that they have to trade with each other, but if they ask confirm that that's fine. If cubs successfully steal from other countries without getting caught, turn a blind eye - ask them about this at the end. Obviously intervene if they catch each other stealing and begin to argue about it.

If the resources are being used up too quickly, redistribute more part way through the game (remembering to do it unevenly). End the game when all the world's resources have been used up and the towers are finished.

After the game, ask the cubs some questions:

- Which country built the highest tower? Why?
- Which country built the most (un)stable tower? What would this mean if the tower were a hospital, school etc?
- Which countries felt they had a better/worse deal at the start?
- Did the differences even out over time or did poor countries stay poor and rich countries stay rich?
- Did any countries accept a trade they felt wasn't really fair to them? Why?
- Did any countries offer a trade that wasn't fair to someone else? Why?
- Did any countries try to steal? Why?
- Which countries felt they had to make difficult decisions?
- Did any countries waste resources?
- What could poorer countries have done to improve their lot? Could they have done anything?
- What could richer countries have done to improve things for the world as a whole?


  • fairtrade
  • Global Challenge
  • sustainability

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