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Subject: The Game that Ate My Class rss

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Thomas Heaney
United States
Quincy
California
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Well, my games of “Origins of World War II” are proceeding apace in two of my college freshman history classes and they have been having some strange effects. Overall, the impact has been very good with both classes generally more energetic and constantly discussing various aspects of the game, as well as getting some mediocre students much more involved in the class. Indeed, many of the students have gotten quite carried away with the game, and my afternoon class has become very serious about their diplomacy and constantly demand more and more class time for the game. [The diplomacy was supposed to be done outside of class, but once the class gets together they want to renegotiate everything.]

But now that we are in turn 5 in one class, a bit of weariness has set in. Also, because of holidays and sporting events, many key team members have been missing or a team has one half of their members one day and the other half at the next class meeting. An example conversation with the US team who were missing their two key players:

FDR and Advisors: “Here are our orders for this turn.”
Me: “OK, but you can’t put any points into Austria because Germany already controls it.”
FDR: “Oh. I didn’t know that Germany had taken control. I wasn’t here last time. Neither of us were here last class [gesturing to his teammate], and the guys who were here aren’t here now. Do you know what they had planned.”
Me: “No, they didn’t say anything to me. Perhaps you should speak to the British Ambassador and find out what Britain is doing. You should coordinate your actions with them.”
FDR: “Well, I don’t know what they are doing. What are they doing?”
Me: “I don’t know. That’s my point, you should talk to them. They are sitting right behind you.”
FDR: “I guess.” [Doesn’t turn around. I return a moment later.] “I guess we’ll put ours in the Rhineland.”
Me: “You can’t. Germany seized control of that 3 years ago on the first turn. Did you talk to Britain or France?”
FDR: “No. What are they doing?”
Continue in this direction until my head explodes.

Most of the other teams are doing much better – I mixed class “leaders” with students with less skills and they’ve managed to teach all their members the game and get everyone involved. The key is to get at least one of those strong students into each team. The problem here was that I let 4 members of a particular college sports team form their own team rather than splitting them up and mixing them with the rest of the class.

But I know that things are going well because students who previously seemed barely alive now complain if I don’t update the class’s online map right away so that they can meet and plan.

e.g.: http://frc.edu/heaney/hist110/images/MWFb1938.gif
 
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Necessary Evil
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Glen Arm
Maryland
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Sounds like a good time. Maybe I should go back to school.

-M
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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Lakewood
Colorado
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Good for you. Hope it continues to go well. One thing about the absent team members and the uninformed "replacements" -- it probably happens to some extent in real-life diplomacy. Might be an interesting point to discuss....
 
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