During recent Social Studies and Literacy periods, our class participated in an island survivor simulation. The exercise was designed as a culminating task for Grade 4 Social Studies (Physical and Political Regions of Canada) and Grade 5 Social Studies (Government). The simulation also stretch students’ ability to work collaboratively in assigned groups and provide opportunities for students to engage in role play and oral discussions.
This is the basic outline of the project (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)
For the purpose of the island survivor exercise, Grade 4 students were assigned to crash land in the physical region of Canada that they studied as part of their Social Studies unit.
After the class was divided into their survivor groups and they listened to a story about the crash scenario, the Grade 4 students in each group taught their Grade 5 island-mates about the region of Canada where they found themselves stranded:
Within their small groups, students began brainstorming a list of all the things they might be able to do with the items that were salvaged from the plane.
Groups began work on survival plans and land use maps of their islands. Then they were told they had been rescued and needed to prepare a presentation for the press.
Groups presented their survival plans at a press conference. When students were not part of a particular presentation, they became members of the press gallery. Ten members of the press rated each group's chance of survival, based on the plans they shared. Mrs. Black assessed the drama aspect of the project, based on how well each student acted his/her roles and listened during other groups' presentations.
THE RESULTS ARE IN!
These are the scores the press gallery gave each group's overall survival plan, based on their performance at the press conference:
- Newfoundland: 73%
- Nunavut: 72%
- British Columbia: 64%
- Ontario: 60%
The press gallery was also asked to rate the odds of each group surviving a winter in the wilderness, based on the survival plans they presented. These are the class' estimates:
- Newfoundland: 83% chance of survival
- British Columbia: 70% chance of survival
- Nunavut: 66% chance of survival
- Ontario: 60% chance of survival
Congratulations to the survivors who crash landed off the coast of Newfoundland! You are the winners of Island Survivor 2017/18!!
Island Survivor was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for most students in the class; a mildly frustrating one for a few. While groups were meeting to brainstorm ideas and achieve consensus about their survival plans, Mrs. Black circulated. She stepped in and facilitated whenever personality clashes or inexperience with consensus-building created an impasse. She hopes the one-on-one and small group coaching that transpired during this activity will provide students with some new tools and strategies they can employ next time they are collaborating with others on a project.
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