The Middle Grades Management Simulation (Caps) is an exciting way to introduce students to basic business decision-making while teaching fundamental economic concepts. With the help of a computer, Caps simulates the operation of a small business and provides students the opportunity to make “hands-on” business decisions. The excitement of competition motivates students to learn while the simulated market illustrates supply and demand and other economic principles at work.
Using Caps software, students operate a “custom cap” business, a small company that purchases baseball caps wholesale, imprints them with a custom design, and then sells them on a retail basis. Students decide how many unfinished caps to purchase, what price to charge for their custom caps, how much to spend on promotion, and whether or not to invest in their own printing equipment. Students refine their decisions over as many periods or rounds as time allows. Their goals are to make enough money to cover overhead and the cost of production and earn a profit greater than their competitors.
Though Caps simplifies many complex business decisions and avoids the use of complex financial statements, it provides a “springboard” to help students understand the issues and problems faced by businesses. The simulation (called contest in this document) illustrates the intricacies of business decision making in a free market economy.
A Caps contest is played in periods or rounds. The periods can be played consecutively. However, since all data is saved in a database, competition can be suspended and then restored at a later time.
This documentation is divided into three parts. The first part explains how to operate the Caps app. The second part provides tips on organizing the simulation in the classroom and managing student participation. The handouts part contains worksheets that can be reproduced and distributed to students to assist them in their decision making.