This resource gives students an active way to engage in how perfect societies can go wrong. Excellent to introduce dystopian literature, propaganda, the psychology of power, development of socializations, supply and demand, and trade. Also excellent activity to teach about leadership and collaboration.
Students will have to “escape” civilized society and create a society on their own. There are two groups within the class, both of whom land on different sides of an island with different resources. They receive a card describing what they have, and are able to set up their society with rules and specific plans about how to handle their resources. Then, the two groups meet and need to learn how to co-exist and help each other. Students feel successful when they agree upon rules, only to have you, their teacher, land on the island and gradually take the power from them. A well-developed script ensures that the power is shifted to you, of their own doing, and a dystopia is born.
This 2-3 day hook lesson includes the following:
Teacher notes and scripts
Group resources descriptions
“Rules” from the new leader that lands on the island
History of the island, written from the new leader’s perspective
All components delivered as pdfs (in a zip file).
If you love this hook lesson, check out It's The End of the World (as we know it)
for an awesome project-based dystopian short stories project, or Power and Propaganda: When it All Goes Wrong
for dystopian novels literature circles. Both allow flexibility with texts!