Every semester I use an activity from the journal Teaching Sociology to teach about class inequality. The article describing the activity can be found here. The authors, Catherine L. Coghlan and Denise W. Huggin have designed a game that really helps students understand the difficulty of class mobility.
From their abstract:
Social stratification may be one of the most difficult topics covered in sociology classes. This article describes an interactive learning exercise, using a modified version of the game Monopoly, intended to stress the structural nature of social inequality and to stimulate student reflection and class discussion on social stratification in the United States. The primary focus of this exercise is to help students experience different levels of social stratification and to challenge the idea that individual talents or aspirations are enough to overcome structural barriers to upward class mobility. Student reactions to the experience suggest that it is an effective tool for demonstrating the structural nature of social inequality in the United States and for stimulating discussion on social inequality and related topics. This exercise has worked well in introductory sociology, social problems, and social inequality classes.
I don’t want to say too much about the activity (don’t want to risk copyright laws or plagiarism) so, instead, I’ll leave you to read the article on your own. What you should know, however, is that in all of my evaluations my students (Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems) cite this as one of the most useful activities they have ever had in a college classroom.