#Take5 #3: World building

The apocalypse is over – we struggle out of our bunkers into the forlorn landscape. All is dust, rubble, destruction – and we have been tasked with world building:

  • What world would you build?
  • How do you ensure everybody is housed, in good health and well fed?
  • How will your world run?
  • How will you educate people?
  • What laws might be needed?
  • What are we talking about?

Simulations and role plays
Learning is intellectual and cognitive – learning is also embodied and emotional. Arguably, successful learning is active whole body learning. To facilitate whole body learning, we have devised a set of simulations and role plays that can be adapted for any subject – and that work at any level. We have embedded these into Education, Community Development and Law – but they can be tweaked to work in any subject.

WHY: Simulations and role plays have multiple purposes:

  • Excellent for getting students speaking with each other – starts to break down isolation and helps promote bonding
  • Reassures students that they are not alone in fears, misunderstandings and general feelings of being lost
  • Emphasises role of discussion in active learning
  • Improves the class atmosphere when everybody has bonded as a group of real people
  • Promotes critical and analytical thinking – and the ability to construct evidenced arguments.

HOW: So we have devised a set of three simulations – and a couple of other activities – that take people through several different role plays:

  1. It’s WW3 you and nine other people are in your bunker  – you cannot all survive – who goes and who stays?   Never can tell… When undertaken with Law students – five groups of 10 – not one group saved the lawyer.  A point not lost on the cohort – or the tutor. Undergraduate law students could see a world without Lawyers!   Progress?
  2. The Apocalypse is over  – you emerge from the bunker – what do you do now? This discussion has students thinking about what is needed for society to function – and whether or not they want to strive for things like equity and social justice.
  3. Learning, self-efficacy and the fear of failure
    We return to our post-holocaust scenario – but part of the preamble for the third session is a discussion on learning – and the fear of failure. We briefly mention resilience, self-efficacy, models of success – and the belief that ‘we can’… and then ask students how they would build self-efficacy in the embryonic communities emerging from the rubble…
  4. Role play and critical thinking: Discussion to resolve Moral dilemmas (resources available): Students in pairs discuss and resolve a moral dilemma. Tip: Get students to draw the issue and the resolution.
  5. Role play – students as producers: after engaging in role play and simulation work, require students to design and develop ideas for role plays to tackle key course topics, theoretical issues and/or concepts. Students can devise their ideas, produce supporting resources – and trial their simulations with groups of fellow students…

The phoenix will rise from the ashes

… but better – fairer – kinder – wiser!

Not only do students tend to enjoy the talking, thinking, debating; when these activities take place in the first few weeks of a course, students start to make friends – they feel more comfortable in the class – and they feel happier with more people … AND – it keeps them guessing!

And students said:

What can I say?! This was the “game” I have enjoyed the most, even more than the one of the previous week. It helped growing my “SENSE OF DUTY”, the future society was now in my hands too. This “game” was very well designed, because it was something more than a game, it was a real LIFE EXPERIENCE.

My group was very WELL-MATCHED, brilliant and logical ideas, sharing and absolute respect for others.

I will remember this experience, because I have learnt a lot from it. I have LEARNT the importance of listening to others; I have LEARNT to respect others’ ideas and, most important, I have LEARNT to assign the right value to all the small things that life offers to us (food, water, a house …) that we, sometimes, take for granted.

We have downloadable resources supporting these activities on the website:
http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/take5/index.html – and we are more than happy to send PowerPoint slides and handouts!!

PLEASE email us if you want more information<span “font-size:12.0pt;=”” font-family:”trebuchet=”” ms””=””> – AND if you would like to share YOUR simulation/role play activities with more people:



Further reading

Simulations for Economics: https://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/handbook/printable/games_v5.pdf

Usable ideas: http://www.joe.org/joe/1989summer/tt1.php

What would Wikipedia say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roleplay_simulation

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