Transform a “Paper” Nation Simulation Using Technology: Part 1


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



1 Response to “Transform a “Paper” Nation Simulation Using Technology: Part 1”

  1. 1 Randy Hughes-King July 16, 2008 at 1:34 am

    As for creating a history, that comes into them recording their progress from the beginning point (right after the disaster) and onward. They can be as ficticious as they like and suggesting they envision a political power play could be quite interesting. As for science, it will progress as their nation chose it to buy funding. Hopefully they chose democracy and capitalism as their basis. Art, it can be ficticious, but also even more complicated since they know of what we have, and art of the future can only be created when it is created. As for living it, that will be difficult and possibly illegal. Go on a two month trip in the woods, tell the group to organize themselves, find a leader, and sort out how to survive. Only when medical attention is required do you intervene. I hope I helped, and the biggest part of this is their imagination. Allowing them to have the vision for their own future is perhaps the greatest freedom to give someone.

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