I think simulations can be very powerful instructional tools. The video below (from the Teaching Channel) features an energetic social studies teacher who uses a simulation to explore overspeculation and the unpredictable nature of the farming occupation. One of the things in the video that I noticed was the teacher's ability to articulate the transfer goals for students as well as the need for selecting pieces of content purposefully among a sea of standards. Great clip!
Click here if you cannot see the embedded film.