“Capitalism versus Communism: An Analysis on Economic Differences in the Cold War”

by James Berkman, Social Studies, MLK Middle School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit will cover the different economic systems capitalist versus communist countries providing students with a background on how these systems led to the Cold War. Students will practice skills associated with historians by researching the definitions of economic systems on their own. In this unit, students will use a variety of resources to expand their knowledge about communism, capitalism, and socialism through videos, novels, and lectures. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the material during the last two lessons when they conduct a “Model United Nations,” in which students will assume the role of a given country and their respective economic system. In the United Nations trial, they will argue why their economic system is most logical in determining what a new country’s economic system should be.

         In this unit, students will use graphic organizers and handouts frequently, which will require a lot of preparation by teachers. The unit will use Capitalism: A Love Story, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, and The Butter Battle Book. This unit will keep students involved due to high engagement lessons and keep them intrigued.