Economic Man vs Humanity: A Puppet Rap Battle

A lesson plan that playfully introduces the limitations of the model of humanity at the heart of mainstream economics

Version 1.0 (September 2020)


This lesson is a creative way to look at the limitations of the model of humanity at the heart of mainstream economics - rational economic man, or ‘homo economicus’. The lesson centres around the video Humanity vs Rational Economic Man: A Puppet Rap Battle and the students are invited to review historical and academic sources that underpin the lyrics of the rap. The lesson can be done as one 90 minute lesson or as a pre-class homework and a single 45 minute lesson. There is also the opportunity for further creative projects for students to write and perform their own rap battles.

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Lesson Outcomes

  • Understand the assumptions behind rational economic man
  • Learn about the limitations of this depiction of humanity
  • Creatively express their own ideas through rap

Why do it?

  • The lesson is a great opportunity to appeal to a different learning style through the powerful learning medium of rap
  • The playfulness makes the lesson engaging and memorable
  • It gives students the opportunity to create their own portrait of humanity for 21st century economics

Who is it for?

Educators | Students aged 16+

How long does it take?

45 - 90 minutes

How many people is it for?

10 - 50

What materials do I need?

  • Projector / screen to show video
  • Handouts of the lyrics to the rap
  • Handouts of the breakout groups


Original animation idea, storyline, references and lesson plan, Kate Raworth

Lesson plan written by Rob Shorter and Kate Raworth at DEAL

Puppet designer Emma Powell

Songwriter Simon Panrucker

Additional contributions from Andrew Fanning, Carlota Sanz, Peter Bullock and Stephanie Leite


Open the lesson plan in Google Docs

Open the lyrics to the rap in Google Docs

Open the guide to breakout groups in Google Docs





    Alexandra Cook

    London, England, United Kingdom

    I'd like to bring doughnut economics into my KS3 Geography / KS5 Politics curriculum. Keen to collaborate with other educators.

    Kevin Shea

    Baiting Hollow, Calverton, New York, United States of ...

    Becoming effective altruistic, seeking to participate in politics of belonging, and doughnut economics


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