Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Have Lost More Than the Red Earth of Tara

My students lost a lot today when their land was colonized.  A lot.

We started the class by showing off the cultures that were developed yesterday.  Many students took pride in their work.  The flags they had created.  The chants and songs.  Many were proud of the fact that their continent had more natural resources (yes it was only Play-Doh™) but it apparently mattered quite a bit.

Then they found out another group was coming, and they were going to try to take over the land.  Each continent; each culture had to make a choice: do we do what they say?  Do we submit?  Or do we fight?  Most fought.  Especially at the beginning.

As a teacher, I have some fun with this.  I tell the students that we can't fight in school - obviously.  So one group will tickle the other group so no one gets hurt.  The small continent (who already knows the game is rigged) doesn't yet realize how it's going to play out.  I count down from 3, but then stop it before anybody has a chance to move.  And all who fought against the colonizers lose.  They don't really take this well.

There is a lot of symbolism in this simulation.  We'll talk about it tomorrow.  I'm posting some pictures.  The explanation for how to earn your extra credit will come after them.

To get the extra credit, you should have read and discussed this post with an adult.  I want you to tell them what happened in your class.  Which group were you in?  How did you feel about what happened?  Did you like the activity?  What do you think everything symbolized?

When you're done discussing this, find a piece of scrap paper, and write 3 good sentences about the discussion you just had.  Tell me what your parents (or whatever adult you discussed this with) thinks about the simulation.  Maybe you could ask them if they did this in their 7th grade social studies class.

Have them sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.

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