Implementation of “The Story of Monopoly: How Charles Stole Lizzie’s Idea and Made His Fortune” (SOI-HR-309)

Author: Ella Rakovac Bekeš, math teacher

School/Organization: I. gimnazija Osijek

Because I find every aspect of gamification to be extremely motivating in teaching math, I decided to use Natalija Budinski’s LS “The Monopoly Story: How Charles Stole Lizzie’s Idea and Made a Fortune” and adapt it with my senior grade secondary school  students. The learning scenario is simple and straightforward to implement. As the activities are intended for elementary school students, the scenario’s existing activities had to be upgraded or altered. It was important to develop a digital version of the games so that they could be shared easily with others.  In addition to being easier to share, they are also created faster, and along with the development of mathematical literacy, they enable the development of digital literacy as well. 

Repetition can be fun

In order to establish knowledge and prepare for the final state exam, students (18–19 years old) repeat a significant amount of previously learned content and concepts in mathematics classes during their senior year of secondary school. To make this repetition more engaging and enjoyable for the students, I used the mentioned learning scenario in a three hour face-to-face math classes with one senior class. The 24 students  in this class were already familiarised with the Europeana platform from previous years and math classes , but only on a fundamental level. They never independently tried to search all of its content, and they forgot about copyright attribution and/or licences.

Board games and mathematics

Class begun with discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the students’ preferred board games. The conclusion was that dice are easily misplaced, but that persistence and perseverance, in addition to character development and dealing with defeat, can be successfully fostered. We determined that these factors are also required for success in math.

Using Europeana galleries and collections

As an introductory activity, we discussed stealing ideas and ethics prior to reading the blog post about Charles’s theft of the Monopoly game concept. Students were divided into five groups. Based on a theme, each group selected 20 images from a single Europeana gallery or collection. For images, a corresponding mathematical problems had to be created. Groups posted their selected images with associated math tasks onto the Padlet. After finishing this activity, the copyright attribution and licences were reviewed.

Slika na kojoj se prikazuje kalendar

Opis je automatski generiran

Screenshot of Padlet, Ella Rakovac Bekeš, CC BY

Digital versions of Mathopoly

We modified the original idea of the learning scenario to include secondary school mathematics tasks. So that dice don’t get lost, Monopoly is created digitally, and each task is associated with a specific Europeana resource. For homework, group members collaborated on Genially board template, and inserted images and math task from previously populated Padlet. To remain in the image field, the player must successfully solve the given task. The distribution of math tasks is conceptually based on previous classes (algebra, statistic, trigonometry, etc.). 

Digital Mathopoly made in Genially, Ella Rakovac Bekeš, CC BY

The five digital Mathopoly games can be found here:

Testing, assesing and improving 

The digital versions of the game had to be tested after creation. Each group played a different group’s monopoly. According to the provided rubric, peer evaluation was used to assess the quality of the game. The quality of the tasks, their significance, compatibility with the selected image, distribution across mathematical domains, etc. They were instructed to write comments and provide feedback to the team that developed the game. Based on the given feedback, the groups were required to solve any issues and improve their game. This was done for homework. The only remaining step is for the teacher to review the games and provide suggestions.

Revision and higher cognitive level

By implementing and adapting this scenario, I was able to have the students practise the required content in a very entertaining manner. Student involvement was almost 100 percent. Moreover, each student solved problems requiring a higher cognitive level, including the application of mathematical concepts and the creation of a monopoly task. The math content is very well revised, and the created Mathopolies can be used in other classes to facilitate revision in a different teaching environments.

Time saver

What would typically take students 4-5 school hours to complete (repetition of the content by completing 20 tasks on a worksheet) was completed in 3 school hours. This approach allowed students to engage in more interactive and challenging activities, which not only saved time but also improved their critical thinking skills. As a result, students were able to achieve better learning outcomes and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.


In addition to adopting the outcomes of mathematics and enhancing their digital literacy, the students connected them with art, history, fashion, etc., and were thus able to appreciate the value and beauty of mathematics.

Successeful STEAM teaching

In addition to excellent ideas and available content on the Teaching with Europeana blog, I found a lot of resources on the Europeana platform itself that I could and would like to apply in class. The platform is great for real STEAM teaching, where A stands for All. When implementing this learning scenario as a very useful resource, I found other learning scenarios and resources  that could refine and improve this scenario and its implementation.

Further use

In other classes, students may be divided into groups and given only one or all five versions of the created monopolies. Due to their digital nature, it is possible to play one version, one game with entire class, with the teacher acting as the facilitator and projecting the game for everyone to see, while the representatives of the groups represent as spokespersons and move through the fields

Teachers should pay attention to copyright attribution and/or licences using Europeana resources if they intend to use the original scenario and this SoI to create games with students.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? The Story of Monopoly: How Charles Stole Lizzie’s Idea and Made His Fortune (LS-RS-507) created by Natalija Budinski

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY-SA 3.0 NL: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Gooi en Vecht Historisch.

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