Year 7 and 8 all experienced the Geography Trading Game during Enrichment Week – the aim of the game to make as much money as possible by making shapes.
Students were advised of the different values of making batches of different shapes.
Students were placed in groups and given different quantities of materials. Pandas and Vultures had to face the challenge with only 4 sheets of paper, £200 and 2 pencils. The Gorillas and Giraffes only had 10 sheets of paper and a sheet of gummed paper. Whereas the Tigers, Toucans and Bears had paper, pencils, scissors, protractors, set squares and a compass!
The students received very little support from staff and initially there were declarations that we had forgotten to give some groups all the resources they needed. As staff acknowledged they had less but then walked away the following questions were soon raised:
Who would win the game? Soon students realised the need to trade but would the other groups trade with them? Would groups realise the value of the resources that they had? Would groups work well as a team? Would all groups behave ethically and fairly? Was this game fair? Would the group who started with the most resources win the game?
The buzz of involvement and activity was a joy to observe as students rose to the challenge. The delight of watching students receive payment for making 5 triangles and returning to their group with their apparent wealth. The realisation that perhaps scissors had been sold too cheaply and groups who started with little now had all the paper to make their shapes. The dynamics and outcome in each session was different and reflected entrepreneurial skills and in some cases just plain perseverance to see each group make progress.
At the end of the game we discussed how the game was an analogy of real life, we considered the emotions felt at the start of the game. We discovered how the world’s distribution of wealth is not fair and how as a global community we could learn from this and change some of our behaviours. A fantastic event to be involved in. With thanks from Nick Boyd and Beccy Pook to our Bankers and Y10 assistants during the event.