Lesson Plan Overview

Oil Crisis:
Get Into The Game

How Bad Can It Get?

Life Is Starting To Change

Elasticity and Collapse

Oil Dependency
Among Nations

Food Without Oil


Preparation and Community

Lessons Learned

Your World Without Oil



The lessons that accompany the alternate reality game World Without Oil have been designed to fit a wide range of subject areas.  In many ways, WWO hovers above all the social studies subjects, including world history, United States history, civics/government, economics, and geography. Teachers are encouraged to use some or all of the lesson plans and incorporate them as necessary to address their specific needs and standards. 

McREL standards have been included for each lesson on the lesson page; state standards addressed by the World Without Oil simulation are listed below for selected states. 


World History

10.10: Students analyze instances of nation-building in the contemporary world in at least two of the following regions or countries: the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, and China.

1. Understand the challenges in the regions, including their geopolitical, cultural, military, and economic significance and the international relationships in which they are involved.

2. Describe the recent history of the regions, including political divisions and systems, key leaders, religious issues, natural features, resources, and population patterns.

US History

11.11: Students analyze the major social problems and domestic policy issues in contemporary American society.

5: Trace the impact of, need for, and controversies associated with environmental conservation, expansion of the national park system, and the development of environmental protection laws, with particular attention to the interaction between environmental protection advocates and property rights advocates.

7: Explain how the federal, state, and local governments have responded to demographic and social changes such as population shifts to the suburbs, racial concentrations in the cities, Frostbelt-to-Sunbelt migration, international migration, decline of family farms, increases in out-of-wedlock births, and drug abuse.


12.1: Students understand common economic terms and concepts and economic reasoning.

12.1.1: Examine the causal relationship between scarcity and the need for choices.

12.1.4: Evaluate the role of private property as an incentive in conserving and improving scarce resources, including renewable and nonrenewable natural resources.

12.2 Students analyze the elements of America's market economy in a global setting.

12.2.1: Understand the relationship of the concept of incentives to the law of supply and the relationship of the concept of incentives and substitutes to the law of demand.

12.2.2: Discuss the effects of changes in supply and/ or demand on the relative scarcity, price, and quantity of particular products.

12.2.4: Explain how prices reflect the relative scarcity of goods and services and perform the allocative function in a market economy.

12.2.5: Understand the process by which competition among buyers and sellers determines a market price.

12.2.7: Analyze how domestic and international competition in a market economy affects goods and services produced and the quality, quantity, and price of those products.

12.2.10: Discuss the economic principles that guide the location of agricultural production and industry and the spatial distribution of transportation and retail facilities.


Standard 2: The student understands the interactions of people and the physical environment. (SS.B.2.4)

7. understands the concept of sustainable development.

Standard 2: The student understands the characteristics of different economic systems and institutions. (SS.D.2.4)

2. understands how price and quantity demanded relate, how price and quantity supplied relate, and how price changes or controls affect distribution and allocation in the economy.

6. understands factors that have led to increased international interdependence and basic concepts associated with trade between nations.



B.  Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers.

15.B.4b: Analyze the impact of current events (e.g., weather/natural disasters, wars) on consumer prices.

15.B.5c: Analyze elasticity as it applies to supply and demand and consumer decisions.

C.  Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by producers.

15.C.4a: Analyze the impact of political actions and natural phenomena (e.g., wars, legislation, natural disaster) on producers and production decisions.

E.  Understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy.

15.E.4b: Describe social and environmental benefits and consequences of production and consumption.


E.  Understand Illinois, United States and world environmental history.

16.E.5b (US): Analyze the relationship between an issue in United States environmental history and the related aspects of political, economic and social history.

16.E.5a (World): Analyze how technological and scientific developments have affected human productivity, human comfort and the environment.


C.  Understand relationships between geographic factors and society.

17.C.5a: Compare resource management methods and policies in different regions of the world.

17.C.4c: Explain how places with various population distributions function as centers of economic activity (e.g., rural, suburban, urban).

17.C.5c: Describe geographic factors that affect cooperation and conflict among societies.

D.   Understand the historical significance of geography.

17.D.5: Analyze the historical development of a current issue involving the interaction of people and geographic factors (e.g., mass transportation, changes in agricultural sub­sidies, flood control).


World History II Learning Standards

WHII.19: Identify the major developments in the Middle East and Central Asia before World War II. (H, E)

F. the growing importance of Middle Eastern oil fields to world politics and the world economy

WHII.47: Explain the rise and funding of Islamic fundamentalism in the last half of the 20th century and identify the major events and forces in the Middle East over the last several decades. (H, E)

A. the weakness and fragility of the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others


Scarcity and Economic Reasoning
Students will understand that productive resources are limited, therefore, people cannot have all the goods and services they want. As a result, they must choose some things and give up others.

2.  Explain how consumers and producers confront the condition of scarcity, by making choices that involve opportunity costs and tradeoffs.

6. Recognize that voluntary exchange occurs when all participating parties expect to gain.

New York

3. Competition in a market economy

Ask students to investigate the energy industry (e.g., heating oil, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity) in terms of elasticity of demand. Have students explain the income effects of products for which the demand is highly inelastic. Discuss how the income effect of rising energy prices leads to a reduction in demand for products in other industries.

World History
Unit 7

A.4. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): oil crisis in the 1970s

Unit 8

C. The environment and sustainability

C.4. Geographic issues today: Energy use

US History
Unit 4

2.b. Domestic policy issues - Oil crisis: shifting energy priorities



United States History Studies Since Reconstruction

(22) Science, technology, and society. The student understands the impact of science and technology on the economic development of the United States.

The student is expected to:

World History Studies

(24) Science, technology, and society. The student understands connections between major developments in science and technology and the growth of industrial economies and societies in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

The student is expected to:

World Geography Studies

(8) Geography. The student understands how people, places, and environments are connected and interdependent.

The student is expected to:

(11) Economics. The student understands the reasons for the location of economic activities (primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary) in different economic systems.

The student is expected to:

(12) Economics. The student understands the economic importance of, and issues related to, the location and management of key natural resources.

The student is expected to:

(20) Science, technology, and society. The student understands how technology affects

definitions of, access to, and use of resources.

The student is expected to:

(23) Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of settings.

The student is expected to:

United States Government

(4) Geography.  The student understands why certain places and regions are important to the United States.

The student is expected to:

Independent Lens Electric Shadows Independent Television Service Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ken Eklund, Writerguy
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National Standards (McREL)

Overarching (All Lessons)

Standard 44.
Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world

Level IV (Grades 9-12), Benchmark 2:
Understands rates of economic development and the emergence of different economic systems around the globe (e.g., systems of economic management in communist and capitalist countries, as well as the global impact of multinational corporations; the impact of black markets, speculation, and trade in illegal products on national and global markets; patterns of inward, outward, and internal migration in the Middle East and North Africa, types of jobs involved, and the impact of the patterns upon national economies; the rapid economic development of East Asian countries in the late 20th century, and the relatively slow development of Sub-Saharan African countries)


State Standards (All Lessons)