Last week, during Literacy and Social Studies periods, our class participated in an ice storm survivor simulation. The exercise was designed to consolidate learning in Social Studies and Science, while stretching students’ ability to work collaboratively in assigned groups, and providing them with an opportunity to engage in role play.
Students were placed in "cabin groups" of four to six. They were asked to imagine what they would do if we were on an overnight school ski trip and, in the morning, they woke up to find themselves isolated, with their cabin power out and a freezing rain storm raging outside. Each cabin group was provided with a list of items they could use to help themselves keep warm, hydrated and fed for several days, and asked to create a plan that included a decision-making structure, rules, and strategies to ensure their survival while creating as little damage to the cabin and property as possible.
These were their imaginary cabins:
During the game, a few curves were thrown at each group. They were asked to choose from a deck of "calamity cards" that listed injuries and illnesses, accidental loss of tools or loss of food for which they needed to compensate with their plans. Then, "life imitated art" when Mother Nature dropped a major ice storm on Central Ontario... an ice storm that caused power outages, the cancellation of school buses, and delayed the completion of our ice storm survivor game! 🙂
These are pictures Mrs. Black took near her home, during the "real" ice storm:
This map depicts extensive power outages, south of Barrie, the day after the ice storm:
Once we were able to return to school, we shared our real-life ice storm experiences, and then continued with planning and problem-solving related to our fictional ice storm game:
These are the maps that groups drew of their cabins and surroundings:
After student groups were "rescued," they were invited to share their survival plans and experiences at "press conferences":
"Life imitated art" a second time when this student, who was assessed as having a fictional hand injury during the game, later sustained a real-life hand injury (she's going to be fine!):
Students in our class served as members of the press gallery, when they were not busy presenting. Members of the press gallery posed questions in the role of reporters, and evaluated group presentations and chances of survival.
Students critiqued their collegues' chances of surviving more than a week on their own, based on the plans they presented:
- Jesse: 52% chance of survival
- Girl's Weekend Cabin and Ice Warriors: 54% chance of survival
- Kiki-waka: 56% chance of survival
- Ice Gladers: 64% chance of survival
- Ice Crew: 70% chance of survival
Congratulations to The Ice Crew, winner of this year's Ice Storm Survival Competition!
"Ice Storm Survivor" was a fun, interactive team-building activity that helped students learn to cooperate, collaborate and seek consensus, while role playing themselves in a survival situation. Through our sharing of real and imagined ice storm strategies and experiences, students also took away some practical power outage preparedness ideas to share with their families, making "ice storm survivor" a valuable experience on several levels!
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