You’ve been able to “herd the cats”. You have monitored and adjusted against the students’ needs and your own instructional / learning needs. Students have engaged well and have followed the flow-process of the simulation and now you are able to bang the drums for the great crescendo, the Grand Finale.
Let’s talk about this. How did you design the simulation to end?
MATHEMATICALLY? That is, you fashioned a process that inexorably leads the simulation to specific conclusions. For example, Cutthroat, a Simulation of the Industrial Revolution, uses a Supply and Demand graph that dictates how many cars the Automobile Companies can sell at the price they set. A profit chart helps the companies decide whether they made money to sustain themselves. Computer simulations are even more complex about this approach. They will have logarithms that will determine the outcome along the flow of decisions made and not made.
VIA a GROUP DECISION? Ups and Downs, a Simulation of the Great Depression, uses a different combination of processes than Cutthroat. In this simulation, as buyers and sellers advance against margin buying and rampant speculation, the Facilitator – Teacher, will suddenly “crash” the market and set off a sell-off strategy. (S)he then conducts a futuring activity where the students project the results of the crash.
ARTIFICIAL AND ARBITRARY? Examples of this include simulated trials where a student-jury will decide the guilt or innocence of the accused. Facilitator – Teachers will often take this role in any given non-mathematical simulation by unilaterally determining the outcome of the simulation. A more “enlightened” Facilitator – Teacher may also give this responsibility to her class.
But in the end, there has to be an “end”. It serves the Facilitator – Teacher well to not only develop how the simulation will end but also inform her class how this will happen.
Ah, but this is NOT the end! What comes next is more important!