Economic Systems - Create a Country Project

Economic Systems

This lesson introduces students to the three main types of economic systems. Students work with limited knowledge, not knowing about mixed systems until the very end. This allows students to see the pieces of command systems and market systems that are present in the United States and in their “ideal” economies.


Part 1 - Hook

Part 2 - Direct Instruction on Command and Market Economies

Part 3 - Create Country Project

Part 4 - Direct instruction on Mixed Economies, Debrief Island Economies

Part 5 - Present Island Project

Part 6 - Rubric


Required Prior Knowledge:
  • Wants vs needs
  • Factors of Production
  • Economy
Key New Vocabulary:
  • Economy
  • Economic System
  • Command System
  • Market System
  • Mixed System
  • Invisible Hand
  • Self Interest
  • Competition
What is the Learning Goal? Students will be able to create their own government and demonstrate their understanding of the three big questions that all societies must answer (what to produce, how to produce, and for whom to produce), and how the three main types of economies (market, command, and mixed) answer them.
Standards:BMM.HS.3.2 Differentiate economic systems in order to recognize the environments in which businesses function.
  • BMM.HS.3.2.e Compare and contrast the basic features of economic systems.
Anticipatory Set and Hook:Bellwork:         If you could start your own country, what would it be like? In pairs, begin to construct what your country will be like. Answer the following questions:
  1. What is the name of the country?
  2. What will your country produce? What type of businesses will it have?
  3. Who owns the businesses? The government? Or individuals?
  4. Who gets the products or services that are created?
  5. Will any basic needs or wants be provided for? (ex: education, healthcare, food, etc.)
Teachers can have students begin to create their product now, or just have them answer questions.
Lesson:Link to slidesIntroduce the definition of Economic Systems - the specific type of economy that a country has, and the three big questions that each Economic System has to answer.
  1. What to produce?
  2. How to produce?
  3. For whom to produce? (Who gets the goods and services?
Discuss Command System and how it answers the three big questions. Introduction to Market System and how it answers the three big questions.Optional Extension on Market system:  EconLowdown Podcast with graphic organizer
  • Discussion questions:
  • What motivates people to work in a market economy?
  • Do you think that competition really keeps greed, self-interest and prices in check?
  • What role does the government play in a market economy?
  • Why do you think Adam Smith coined the term “Invisible Hand” to describe the forces of self-interest and competition?




An ancient artifact has been unearthed, giving you the ability to insert your own country anywhere in the world. Once you place your 20 square miles, the artifact goes dormant. Now is the time to get to work!


Students will work in pairs for this project. They may choose to use the country they started working on during the hook, or create a completely new one.


To have a successful country, you will need to answer the following questions.

  1. Name of the country and flag.
  2. Factors of Production:
  1. Land - Where is your country located? Do some research and list out the land that is available naturally in that area!
  2. Labor - Who will be allowed to move to your country? Will there be requirements on items such as their education level or ability  to work specific jobs?
  3. Capital - What capital will be needed? Will your businesses create them or will you import them?
  4. Entrepreneurship - What kind of business will your country have? What goods and services will be created? You will need entrepreneurs to start the businesses, and who will be the labor?
  1. Wants vs Needs: Will the government provide for any of its citizens wants and needs? Or is it up to each person? Will any basic needs be provided for? (Remember to think about things like education, insurance, safety net for people in need, etc).
  2. What is the role of government in your country?
  3. How will prices be set for goods and services? By the businesses? Or will the government set prices?
  4. What (if anything) will the government regulate?


Put everything together in a creative way, such as an infographic or commercial for your country! Have your own idea? Run it by the teacher!


New Learning/Debrief: 


Introduce students to mixed economic systems. Have students compare and contrast the systems.

  • Include how they answer the three big questions, and provide students with pros and cons.
  • Discuss what pieces about the United States economy is command, market, and how we are a mixed economy.


Have them reflect on the type of system that they chose to create with the following questions.


  1. Identify some areas that your economic system has that are from a command system and some areas that are from a market system.
  2. Which system most closely resembles the one you designed (market, command, or mixed)? Define that system and explain how yours compares. Explain referring to how you answered the questions on your economy.
  3. Identify at least 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses to the economic system that you created. (I suggest looking up strengths and weaknesses of the various types of systems).
  4. In the past there has been a variety of economic systems, but today the most popular system is the mixed economy. Based on what you know about the United States and your created country, why do you think that is?


Presentation: Have groups present their islands. Audience members will fill out this sheet while listening.























Grading Rubric:



ConcernsAreas that Need WorkCriteriaStandards for This PerformanceAdvancedEvidence of Exceeding Standards
 Criteria #1:Students created a unique new economy with a name, flag, and clear description. 
 Criteria #2:Students explained how the four factors of production are used in their country. 
 Criteria #3:Students identified the government role in their country. 
 Criteria #4:Students reflected on how their country incorporates pieces of command, market, and mixed economic systems. 
0-80points80-95 points95-100 points