Saturday, May 7, 2011

Stimulating Simulations

Say that 5x fast. Yes, I just tried to do it. Twice. 

So in my MUN class (see here for more info on MUN) the students have been working on creating a realistic simulation with a specific theme i.e. military, human rights, economy, etc. It's been extremely interesting to listen to them come up with tangible ways for their classmates to experience what it's like to trade in a global economy or how it feels to be harassed while trying to work in miserable conditions. 

I'm thinking that some of the things we did today would not be acceptable in the good ole politically correct US of A. Things like reliving the 'slave trade' by having students bought by 'slave owners' who had a rubric to fill out, judging the 'slaves' based on their height, weight, looks, and ability to do pushups (in front of the entire class).  We also had a lot of group 'hugging' when trying to live in a 'one-bedroom house' together, especially when the house kept getting smaller and smaller. The group just kept getting closer and closer. And I'm pretty sure there were at least two times where students almost fell off of chairs while trying to balance more than 3 people on them at a time for an international trading simulation...

Yah, no, this wouldn't have worked in America. But here, it was an awesome day, filled with fun, learning and laughter.

Perfect Stars

Reliving the Industrial Revolution... remember the stars I was talking about in my last post? Well we spent at least a good hour today making them in all sorts of conditions. And by conditions I mean...

Child Laborers were forced under the table.

 ...under tables, with one hand behind our backs...that's me, on the bottom. To the left. I was one of three lucky enough to pull the paper that allowed me to be a child laborer. Awesome, huh?

My "stars"...not so perfect.

 My feeble attempt at 'star making'. It was just so blastedly hard!

Fun to watch but GLAD I didn't play

 This is the 'poor living conditions' simulation. The students had to make sure that everyone's feet were only on the paper. After each time, the paper got smaller. This picture was about halfway through...



 At one point there were three people standing on one chair...

 Super safe, no?

Some of them did this for an hour...

 They had to sort this huge pile of beans and rice. And then when "technology" came along, they had to use chopsticks (which was much harder). It was actually a good example that technology doesn't always make things better.


Owner and slaves

Students just walked around whacking each other with these balloons.

Before typing technology

One of the jobs as a slave was to hand-copy the Bible...I'm not sure that I should've allowed this but at least they were in The Word. Oh, did I mention that our hands were rubber-banded together?

Origami is the bane of my existence mostly.

At another station, we had to fold origami. The problem was, all the instructions on how to do it were in Korean. Awesome for my Korean students. Not so awesome for me.

Quite impressive really.

 Blasted rubber bands.

Tulip, Cootie Catcher, Crab

The students laughed a lot when I decided to make a crab. I was just looking for the easiest thing possible. They were rather impressed when I was finished.

I might have taken the rubber bands off to finish my crab. Might have.

Done while being beaten with a balloon. Impressive, no?

A few samples of our hard work.

I would like to reiterate that NO students were harmed during the picture-taking of these simulations. At least not 'physically' harmed...


Katrina Custer said...

I LOVE simulations. Just the other day, the 6th graders were divided into Patricians, Plebeians, and slaves but didn't know which they were till the end of the day, after they'd spent a lot of time working for pay. Boy were those slaves ever mad to lose it all! Made for a great post-discussion. Your ideas look fabulous! I like the rubber-band approach.

Anonymous said...

A teacher was actually fired about 2 weeks ago here in the states when he tried to have his class relive the early American slave auctions! Good ole "PC" America!!! Keep it up, Jen!

Jen said...

Katrina, I love your idea! That's fantastic. Hm, I may have to work that in for next year World History. I did on for the European feudalism system. It went pretty well. Oh and by the way, definitely not my ideas. These were all student-created. They were completely in charge of the simulations.

Anonymous, that doesn't really surprise me. I would never do anything like this in America. I don't even think my students would be able to come up with those sorts of things there.

There's really no such thing as political correctness here. Anything and everything a person is thinking is said aloud, advertised. I may have to write a post about this...