Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Mergers in the Beer Industry
Ensure students are familiar with the following terms:
Merger - two corporations join together into one, with one
corporation surviving and the other corporation disappearing
Monopoly - a market in which there are many buyers but only one seller for a particular product or service
Oligopoly - a market in which a seller owns or controls the total supply of a particular product or service
Press conference - meeting called to announce a major news event to the media, often allowing questions and answers
Designate and label four areas in the room: strongly agree, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, strongly disagree. Have students move to the posters that best express their opinion for each of the following statements.
- Companies have a right to buy or acquire small companies.
- A monopoly is a good market situation for consumers.
- Lots of competition in the market is a good situation for consumers.
- The government should regulate industries to prevent monopolies from forming.
As students take their places, write the statement on the board. Then, ask at least one student in each group to share his or her opinion.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Selling Suds: The Beer Industry in Canada on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them view the clips "Are beer ads harmful?" "I... AM... CANADIAN!" and "Am I still Canadian?"
Explain that after viewing, students will be participating in a press conference, and playing roles. Before students view the clips, assign roles to them as either CEOs or members of the press, representing one of the following stakeholder groups: consumers, employees, or shareholders of one of the company's stocks.
As students view the clip, they should take notes and develop questions that they might ask during the press conference. Those in the role of CEO should anticipate questions that the members of the press might ask. Those in the role of media should focus on questions relating to the stakeholder group they are representing.
After viewing, place the students in group by role (i.e., all CEOs together) to develop solid questions and, for CEOs, responses to questions. They should record their work and be prepared to hand it in.
Revisit and Reflect
Distribute copies of the rubric on the download sheet Mergers in the Beer Industry. Ensure that students understand the assessment criteria. Provide a brief overview of the structure of the press conference.
Allow students to play out their roles over a one-period press conference. Record anecdotal notes on their performance. Afterwards, ask students to reflect on the experience and to write and hand in a one-paragraph reflection with the paperwork they prepared for the press conference.
Have students discuss and reflect upon the impact of mergers based on what they learned from this activity. Pose these questions for small group or class discussion:
- Discuss how mergers affect competition in a product or service category, such as beer. To what extent is competition necessary to an industry?
- Give examples of ways that big companies are beneficial to consumers. In what ways do they disadvantage consumers?
- Some accept mergers as an economic fact of life. Do you agree or disagree? Explain the reason for your position.