Age Range

Big Ideas Of Science


Average Learning Time

Works Offline



Garrett Hardin (1968) described how multiple individuals acting in their own interests, while exploiting a common resource, will inevitably overexploit the resource. To make students familiar with the topic, a short introducing video about the subject was developed specifically for this orientation phase. In the conceptualization phase, it is important that students ask questions and to formulate a hypothesis with regard to ‘Tragedy of the Commons’. Students are stimulated to do this with the use of a hypothesis scratchpad with predefined terms as to support the process of hypothesis formulation (Van Joolingen, 1998). In the investigation phase, the goal is to have students experiment and try to answer their data collection. The lab‘ Tragedy of the Commons’ (Jones, n.d.) is used and the students are asked to experiment with the sliders and to try to answer their hypothesis. Underneath, questions are posed to help and stimulate the student to make interpretations. In the conclusion phase, the goal is to have students reflect on their hypothesis and make conclusions. The students are prompted to do this with the use of the ‘Conclusion tool’ app (Sikken, n.d.). With this app, the students can indicate the amount of ‘correctness’ of their hypothesis. Due to the high amount of novel information, an extra (recap) phase is added in order to explain the concepts behind the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’. This was done in a instruction video in order to give the students the needed theoretical (conceptual) knowledge, without interrupting the inquiry process. In the discussion phase, the goal is to stimulate reflective activities. The students are stimulated to transfer (i.e., apply) their newly acquired knowledge to another social (economical) example of the “Tragedy of the Commons’, namely that of overfishing.

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Students should have a grasp on basic economical concepts before starting with this ILS (4VWO in the dutch schooling system).