Dynamics of Scrooge’s Generosity in A Christmas Carol

Overview: Students will gain an understanding of threshold (or “tipping point”) behavior by examining the cumulative influence of the ghosts on Scrooge and the resulting changes in his behavior.

Lesson  Objectives

Curriculum Context


  • Students will identify key characters and variables within Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

  • Students will create behavior-over-time graphs (BOTGs) of the following, or similar,variables: Cumulative Influence of Ghosts and Scrooge’s Generosity

  • Students will create a stock/flow (S/F) Map depicting the relationships among the following, or similar, Influence of Ghosts, ‘Generosity, and Scrooge’s Threshold/Tipping Point.

  • Students will demonstrate understanding of thresholds /tipping points through experimentation with a system dynamics model similar to their S/F map and through written explanations of thresholds found in various systems in life.

This lesson was developed for 7th grade Language Arts, but it may be adapted to other classes. 

  • Change over time

  • Delays 

  • Thresholds

  • Tipping point

  • Leverage 

  • Patterns and trends 

  • Accumulations 

  • Structure generates behavior




Systems Tools

Materials needed include:

  • Whiteboard or overhead projector

  • Computer with modeling software, including the Christmas Carol model

  • Data projector

  • 95 minutes
  • Behavior-over-time graphs

  • Stock/flow diagrams




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