In just four days, fourth graders faced and solved the World Peace Game! The overarching goal of the game is to bring out the best in every child through role playing in a fictional, yet realistic world on the brink of economic, social, and environmental crisis. Conflict and chaos eventually became collaborative complex problem solving. We're so proud of these future world leaders!
Negotiations are in full swing as game day 2 of the fourth grade's World Peace Game progresses. They successfully solved one crisis (of the 23 they face) on game day 1, involving an exploding Volcano prompting an evacuation of an entire country. There has also been a trial of a suspected saboteur, and billions of dollars exchanged and borrowed from the World Bank.
The classroom is buzzing with energy and nerves as these students work together using their collaborative skills and logic to work through the issues presented to them. They are having conversations and conflicts and are coming up with their own resolutions by thinking globally, thinking about what others may need, and truly learning how to negotiate.
The game also involves extensive reading comprehension and a lot of math. Auditors from the World Bank are around to keep budgets in check.
Structure is also extremely important. There is a specific protocol during game play for interacting with each other, everyone is referred to as Mr. or Ms. in their various roles.
To win the game and achieve world peace, students have to negotiate and resolve their way through many crises (including climate change, chemical warfare, refugees, religious conflict, and tsunamis) and achieve global prosperity.
This is the third year St. Mark's fourth grade has launched themselves into this simulated game of war, conflict, and crisis. For over 30 years John Hunter, an educator and creator of the World Peace Game
, has been teaching fourth graders and their teachers how to play a complex, immersive, interactive, collaborative, and geopolitical game. The overarching goal is to bring out the best in every child through role playing in a fictional yet realistic world on the brink of economic, social, and environmental crisis. Hunter designed the game “to equip students with the skills they need in order to face the problems and uncertainties of the real world.”
When the game began, students were faced with a four-level plexi glass game board representing underground, land and sea, air, and outer space. Divided into four fictitious nations, every student has a role, some of which include a Prime Minister, a Cabinet Member, an Arms Dealer, a Secretary General of the United Nations, a Saboteur, and a Weather Goddess (who also controls the stock market). The nations are unique as well, with one being very wealthy, one oil-rich, one poor, and one philosophically mandated to protect the earth.
At the beginning, the game is deliberately created to be overwhelming and chaotic in order to encourage complex problem solving in collaborative yet competitive scenarios. “Before starting the game, we hold a meeting to explain the process to parents,” says fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Stroud. “We know this is going to be a challenge for the students, both intellectually and emotionally, and we want parents to know how to best support their child.”