Our class was featured in the Education section of the latest issue of West Linn Tidings! Check out the well done piece from Andrew Kilstrom on our experience playing the World Peace Game. Pick up a copy before it leaves newsstands. Here is a link to the online article (with a few extra photos): Willamette Fourth Graders Try Global Politics
They did it! They achieved world peace. On the last day of the World Peace Game, with only seven minutes left, students were able to solve the last crisis in the game and each country was able to raise its budget above its starting point. In the process, students developed their listening and teamwork skills and used compassion and kindness to compromise their way to success.
After the game concluded, students voted by secret ballot for three awards: Human Rights Award, Outstanding All-Around Player Award, and the World Peace Game Peace Prize. These awards were given to Vance, Kaleb, and Tess, respectively.
Students then filled out reflections on their experience with the game followed by a whole group discussion on how we can use the lessons learned from playing together to bring peace to our world. It has been a meaningful experience that hopefully will pay dividends as these children continue to grow.
Before playing the game, I received an email from the game’s creator, John Hunter, wishing me luck in my first experience as the game’s facilitator. He ended his note with a simple reminder: “It will become apparent that the game is not about the game. It’s about you, your relationship with the kids, and the underlying substrata of their hearts.” The game aims to embed empathy, compassion, and forward-thinking awareness deeply into the classroom’s culture. After watching these kids play, I feel that mission has been accomplished.
Things are starting to click as students are figuring out how to navigate their way through the variety of challenges the World Peace Game throws at them. There is now a wave of fast paced energy that rushes through the room during negotiation periods as students work towards discussing possible solutions, making agreements, signing documents, and balancing budgets. Perhaps most impressive has been the innovative technology that students have created to solve problems, such as the salt water purification system that was created to enable two countries to save their crops after the aquifer they have been using began to run dry. We will resume game play next Tuesday with only a few crises remaining that need to be solved. The game ends when all crises have been solved and each country has increased its budget from the beginning of the game.
Photo above: Frostlynn, the country to the east, makes its moves during a declarations period.