I once created what I thought was a great simulation designed to identify the causes of World War I. I created a simple model. I then set up groups of students to “play” the key countries in the conflict: Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia, the United States.
Within each country-group I had the students take additional roles as Prime Minister/Czar/President etc.; as Foreign Secretary; War Minister etc. I took great care to
1. Clearly lay out the attitudes and beliefs of each country. (more…)
Before we go to continuing to examine the process of creating an effective simulation let’s consider the issue of where, how, and to what extent that content and / or skills need to be factored into the activity.
One thing I like about the Common Core is the impression if not the actuality that teachers are now expected to go more deeply into topics rather than to surface-skim them in a headlong race to heaven knows where.
A simulation certainly benefits from this new mindset in that a drawback, for some, would be that experiential teaching activities like simulations, take more time than customary chalk and talk approaches. Nonetheless, a well designed simulation must be sure that it addresses the important skills, concepts, themes, and content that students must master. (more…)