Hot Topic: Captain Phillips: Pirate Economics

Economics in the movies!  Ripped from the big screen just in time for Halloween!

Before you put on that oh-so-real-looking pirate costume, you might want to check out “Captain Phillips:  Pirate Economics.” Our latest hot topic uses the economic way of thinking to explain when going 200 miles out to sea in a tiny fishing boat to attack a cargo ship might be a rational choice and when it might not.  The economic reasoning tools in ERPs #1 & 2 – choice and opportunity cost analysis – help students find the rational man in the seemingly irrational choice of young Somalis.  “Captain Phillips” gets it right; clips from the movie and interviews with modern pirates make it clear that Somali pirates aren’t crazy or stupid.  They’re simply choosing the best of their (scarce) alternatives.

The ready-to-use student collection can be assigned for homework, and the accompanying teacher collection provides an overview, background, and suggestions for using the hot topic in a flipped-classroom or blended learning exercise.

Students click the blue “Study” button and proceed through the collected resources.  Narration at the top of each screen guides them with thought questions and reminders.

If you are already a Gooru user, you may create this assignment using the Teach tab and your own Gooru classroom.  For direct access to the collection, give students the url below or embed it in your teacher website at school.


This collection contains all the resources in the student collection, but the narration is teacher-focused.  Additional resources are included, as are suggestions for 1) preparing students to use the collection and 2)follow-up debriefing questions and activities for the blended classroom.


(For more information on FTE Gooru, blended learning, customizing collections, and other Hot Topic lessons, use the red links to the right of the screen.)

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