Resource Rummy

by Lance Larson

Lance Larson is a graduate student in Educational Technology at San Diego State University. He is currently working as an alternative education teacher at Hoover High School.


Instructional Objective The learners will be able to recognize economic resources and the category typeof each one.

Learners/Context The learners are high school seniors taking a senior high school level Economics course. The course is an introductory course to simple economic principles. The students are expected to show a clear understanding of ecomomic resources to graduate from high school.

The game is designed to be played during or after class to reinforce the understanding of what economic resources are and the different categories of resources.



A game is an appropriate format because it provides an entertaining activity to learn a primarily dry concept. The rules of the game attempt to reinforce a basic understanding of resources and the categories of resources. The card game is accessable and easy for up to four students to play. It is quick and easy to play in almost any situation. Since the rules follow the basic rummy game, the students feel non-threatened by the game.

Rules Two to four people may play at the same time.


The game is played in the following manner:



  1. The object of the game is to get two groups of three and four cards of 2 different resource categories. The dealer deals seven cards to each player. Moving clockwise from the dealer, the first player chooses either the discarded card or a card from the face down pile. The player determines which cards to keep and discards the extra card. The first player to create two groups of three and four cards places the cards down and must name the two different categories (e.g., capital, labor) shown. The other players refer to a reference card that indicates all the items in their respective categories to verify whether the player is correct. If the player cannot name the two categories, the player on his/her left can name them correctly to win the round. The player with the winning hand gains one point. The game is over when a player reaches a predetermined score. If a time limit is set instead, the winner is the player with the highest score at the end of the time.


  2. The Use of "Wild Cards". A player can take advantage of the "Wild Card" which is the "Money" card. Even though money is a capital resource, money can be used to buy another type of resource (e.g., money is used for a Labor resource).


Card Design Each card has the resource title on the top and bottom, a graphic of the resource, and a short descrption of the resource's purpose or use. They are the same size as playing cards with a design on the back of each card.

Deck Design The desk has a total of 42 playing cards: four suits/categories with ten cards in each category. The remaining two cards are the wildcards. One cheat card is available to the students. This card has the categories listed with the corresponding resources listed below.

Sample Cards





Outside Cover of the Each Card, Capital Resource Card, Money (Wildcard) Card

Possible Economic Resources





iron ore

savings bonds



gold ore

assemblyline machine


new spaceship design

silver ore


construction worker

ergomomic chair

forest trees



business consortiums

ocean property

drilling machinery


new soft drink

oil deposit

printing press


business restructuring

farm land

electric cable


new production technique

kelp beds

copy machine


government policy

downtown property



business merger

farm animals

cement mixer

stock broker

management techniques

Design Process Students often have difficulties when cnfronted with the concepts involved in Economics. Economics is adry subject with many concepts difficult for students to understand. Economic resources are especially difficult because of the misleading names of the resource categories. For example, "land" refers to natural resources such as animals and water. The rummy/poker format was the most appealing because of the diffferent categories involved. Most of the uses of the different resources could be explained in one sentence of less, so the amount of needed information was not an issue. Because there was no hierarchical structure of the resources, I could not develop the solitaire game which I initially desired to create.

I wanted the game to be simple and easy to play. Although I knew I needed a cheat sheet I wanted to develop an advanced game that could be played without looking at the sheet.

Because high school students need a simple and familiar format, I felt the card design needed to be much like regular playing cards. In the middle of the card a short description of the resource's use is placed to give students additional means to figure out the type of category the resource fit in.

At times during the design process I felt the game was tto easy for even high school students. However, when prototyping with one of my students I found that some resources were easily identified, and others difficult to place. If this game were to be made into a fully developed game, more testing would need to be done on which specific resources should be used.

References Economics: Today & Tomorrow (1995). Glencoe. Westerville, OH.

Last updated by Lance Larson on November 15th, 1996.

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Educational Technology 670, Fall 1996