Sunday, February 12, 2012

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without!

We just finished studying the Great Depression and are starting my favorite time period in history, World War II, tomorrow. I'm not sure what it is about this time period in world history that intrigues so many people. I know I'm drawn to the stories of individuals, just ordinary people who fought oppression, hatred, and evil. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw is a wonderful compilation of many of those stories. I need to take that in and share it with my students.

Anyway, the kids have a short week this week because Friday is a teacher work day. I decided to seize the chance to maybe give them a glimpse into what scarcity really was like. 

Propaganda Posters are a lesson by themselves.

My buddy Nelson actually gave me this idea. I emailed him and asked him how exactly he worked the simulation, but he basically just laughed at me and implied he made it up as he went along. 

I could have done that on my own. I started brainstorming with my dream team colleagues last week. Luckily for me, they're really supportive and are all for playing along, even if it inconveniences them this week.

Step one: Remove all desks and chairs, stacking them wherever you can find space. (Hilarious side note- we have, like, NO janitorial staff, so one class is awarded a trophy each afternoon for leaving the room neat and tidy. Guess who won on Friday? :) )

Step two: Move all consumables out of reach of students. I have a little cubby hole area in my room that I placed my desk in front of to block the possible black market dealers.

Step three: Establish your general goods store and determine prices. In four days, my students will get two pages of ration stamps, 48 per page. I set the prices high purposely so they will have to be smart in their decision-making. I also have limited how many of each item I will have available each day. For example, for my first block I have 7 groups of four (each will be considered a "family" for the purposes of this simulation) but I only have 10 pencils available. I also planned activities during the course of the week that require certain items, like scissors, rulers, or calculators, that will force them to NEED the things I have for sale. Quite the opportunist, aren't I?

Step four: Create your ration booklets. I am incredibly lucky- I actually possess two ration booklets that belonged to my Great Grandfather. (Strangely, I discovered you can buy them on eBay if you really want an authentic artifact.) Print them at 4x6 inches and staple. I did a front, two pages of stamps, one page of gas rations (they must use one every time they want to go anywhere, like the library or bathroom. heehee) and then the back, which has the instructions.

Step five: Let's see how the kids react tomorrow. :) I'll continue to journal the logistics. I've put a lot more thought into it than I have listed here, but it makes more sense to talk about it chronologically.

(Go check out my "Great Ration Experiment" post for the day-to-day journal of how it worked)

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