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Tragedy of the Commons: Sustainable Resource Use

Kit #557S
Tragedy of the Commons: Sustainable Resource Use

In this activity students will model the concept of The Tragedy of the Commons and the effects different regulations can have on individuals, communities, and the resource itself. Students use a physical model of a commercial fishery to explore the impact of human activity on a shared resource, and how changes in human activity affect that resource. They test the effects of different fishing limits on the fish populations in the fishery, both in terms of population sizes and diversity of species. Students investigate the trade-offs involved with setting different limits on the use of the resources and have the opportunity to use the model to design and test a variation on the limits of resource use and what effects they have.

Details at a Glance

  • 1-2 Days | 1-2 ~50 minute class periods
  • 1 Activity
  • Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 8 groups of 4 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • All materials are non-consumable
  • Includes digital resources
  • Developed in partnership with SEPUP

Scientific Concepts

Disciplinary Core Ideas
•LS-2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
•LS-4.C Adaptation
•LS-4.D Biodiversity and Humans
•ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
Science and Engineering Practices
•Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
•Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts
•Cause and Effect
•Stability and Change
Key Vocabulary: ecosystem, ecosystem services, essential resources, resource,
sustainability, sustainable living, trade-off, Tragedy of the Commons

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 32 Pair of chopsticks
  • 32 Plastic cup
  • 8 Character Cards, set of 12
  • 8 Resealable bag
  • 1 Foam Fish (800 orange, 240 yellow)
  • 1 Incident cards, set of 10
  • 1 Ball of string
  • Not included and needed for instruction: Timers.