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Working Together

grades k-12

Educational Objective: The students will demonstrate their ability to work together by playing and discussing the Earthquake Survival Game.

Materials Needed: various survival items (see hook), instructional notes with injuries (step 1), exam

Hook: The teacher (or a student) will pass out items that can be used to survive the night after an earthquake: Blankets, a tent, batteries, flashlight, radio, canned food, can opener, water bottles, first aid kit, Swiss Army knife, representational matches and firewood.

Step 1: Before class the teacher should tape different notes under some of the desks with such messages as: "You've been cut on the arm by broken glass and are bleeding." "A wall fell on your legs. Both are broken." "Head injury." "Shaken out of bed. Broken arm." etc.

Step 2: After the students come in they should sit down without any explanation except a promise that the items would be explained later.

Step 3: The students will take a test on the previous day's lesson or something relevant to class. This text should seem real, not made up.

Step 4: In the middle of the test, the teacher will switch off and on the lights yelling, "Earthquake! Everyone take cover under your desks!" The teacher continues for about 30 seconds to allow time for everyone to get under their desk, then switches on the light.

Step 5: The students are told to check for a note under their desk and must then act accordingly. Those who are uninjured can choose to help them or not.

Step 6: The teacher then will allow 20 minutes for everyone to work together to make it through the night. They won't be given any explanation except they need to make it through the night. They will have to figure out on their own that working together will help everyone survive rather than just themselves.

Step 7: After the time is up the teacher tells the students whether or not they won the game. The only way not to win the game is to not work together. Even if some of the people don't survive, but the students had tried to work together they still win the game, and everyone wins or everyone loses.

Step 8: Discussion of the game, why everyone won or lost.

Step 9: Assign different jobs, or roles, dealing with production to the students (director, designer, actor, stage manager, costumer, etc.) Discuss what would happen in a play if they had behaved in the same manner in those assigned jobs. Would it have failed or succeeded? Would they have done anything differently? Switch roles/jobs and discuss from that point of view. The teacher should make the analogy of Hamlet being produced with just Hamlet, or wonderful costumes, but the most basic set, or no set at all, that it is the same as not working together in the earthquake situation. On the other hand, if they had worked together then the analogy can be made of a well put-together play that has all the elements in place and is successful.