This lesson plan is another "present" by Dr Diana Hicks. Brilliant course and brilliant teacher indeed. So, once again, thank you Mrs Hicks and thank you Comenius :)
I was planning to try this activity in one of my History courses, as it can be adapted to suit different subjects. But in the end I never actually had the time to try it with my students since, as it often happens, we had to rush through things during this first semester.
But rest assured, it will be for the new year! And for all of you who asked me for some scientific activity, why don't you give it a try? You could have fun and, why not, find some interesting variation to this lesson. Let me know!
RIVER NILE - THE GAMBLING
about 20 students - 12/13 years old
subjects: Science/Geography/Technology/History (or better, all of them! these disciplines are connected)
Pupils drawing on their own, then working in groups of 4/5
Instructions given in English - pupils can answer and discuss, when needed, both in English and in mother tongue.
1) Take a piece of paper and draw a river - this will be river Nile
2) Draw lots of fields close to the river (drawing squares of different sizes will be fine) - these are your fields
3) You're a farmer and you wait for the water to come to the fields, so your crops can grow
4) Take your drawing with you and sit in groups. Each group will be given a dice.
5) Now, the members of the group roll the dice 5 times each
6) Each time, after rolling the dice, put a cross on your fields corresponding to the number you got on the dice (example: you got 5, you put a cross on 5 of your fields; you got 3, you put a cross on 3 of your fields, etc.)
7) When all the members of the group have rolled their dice 5 times, count your crosses. If you're under 20, you're DEAD.
8) Now, rolling the dice 5 times corresponds to 5 years. If you made less than 20 crosses, that means the river didn't reach enough of your fields, you didn't have enough water, and you couldn't grow your crops. You and your family were destined to die. Now you understand: living there is a gamble.
9) What could the people do to help the situation? Discuss with your group (English or mother tongue), then write down a short list of possible solutions: begin the sentence with "they could..."
10) All solutions are collected on the board
11) What did they really do? Let's take the book (or pc, or anything) and have a look together.
Well, I loved this activity when we tried it out at the training course (I always love role play, and I adore being the pupil !!! It's definitely less stressful than being the teacher... ok, points of view, I know). So I'll take advantage of this with one of my classes in the near future.