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The Baboons’ Dilemma

The Baboons’ Dilemma

Don’t tell your students about the power of cooperation — SHOW them with this ingenious twist on a classic game.

Show students The Baboons’ Dilemma video, or walk through the Slideshow with them. Model how to play five rounds of the game, then distribute the Baboons’ Dilemma Score Sheet and allow students to pair up to play. Students will play five rounds with each partner and will play with a total of five partners, making 25 rounds all together.

After students have finished, have them add up their scores and reveal the big secret: if they had cooperated every time, each student would have caught 75 fish. But in almost every classroom that has played this game, NO ONE catches 75 fish! Looking out for yourself doesn’t just hurt the group — it hurts YOU! Discuss how life is filled with situations where it can be tempting to act selfishly — but that acting selfishly is often worse both for other people AND for you.

Teacher Tip For more background and additional information about the game, check out The Baboons’ Dilemma Teacher Guide.

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If you like these lessons, you'll LOVE the Blue Apple project, Moments to Remember, where students form friendships with senior citizens, then use what they learn about their new friends to create meaningful, memorable biographies.

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