Mr. Webster looks at many fully developed online nation simulations and finds out that they do not meet his subject’s academic standards, do not fit in his time constraints, and are primarily war focused. He creates his own “paper and pencil” classroom simulation and incorporates various technologies to help his simulation come alive.
Setting up the simulation:
As Mr. Webster sets up a classroom situation in which the present day world has been destroyed, he can show a video clip in which a flood or a volcano destroys an area. Students can sense the destruction and realize that they have to rebuild the nation from the bottom up. Can they figure out what is needed to create a new nation?
Scaffolding the experience:
Mr. Webster can give students documents to use as they create their own nation. Students may have an electronic copy of the US constitution (or a brief outline of it) that they modify in their word processor as they create the constitution of their own nation. Will they include the same major components or will they drastically change the type of government? Will their government withstand the daily challenges?
Students can do a quick search of Google images for flags of various nations before they create their own nation flag. As they look at each online flag, they can think about the symbolism of that flag and what they want their new nation’s flag to represent. They can create their own flag using any digital drawing program and print it out to proudly fly over their new nation. What do they consider important in their new nation? If the class is large, each group can create a flag and then the class can select the best aspect (which most clearly shows the goals of the nation) from each group to create a common flag.
Likewise, they can use a drawing program or even Word to create their own money once they have figured out their government’s monetary system. Students use this money to buy and sell and even to pay taxes in their new nation. Can the government get enough in taxes and other revenue to support itself? Will the citizen protest the tax rates?
How do you give your students the simulated feeling of “living” a historical, scientific, mathematical, language, artistic, etc. event? How do you help them to “live” it instead of learn about it?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007