Simulations for Discussion & Debate

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Teachers’ Notes:

These fun and engaging simulations are designed to stimulate critical thinking and reasoning and develop argument and persuasion skills in students. Each scenario is open to interpretation, and students will love debating each other and putting their opinions forward.

N.B. Intellectually, these resources are appropriate for students in grade 6 and above. However, some scenarios touch on (mention) themes that could be considered offensive, controversial, or inappropriate. These themes include: crime and punishment (including drugs and murder), religion, obesity, gun ownership, terrorism, PTSD, and war. Please be aware of this if you teach a potentially sensitive or conservative cohort. ***Clicking on the preview and zooming in will allow you to see the content if you are concerned***
 
Simulation One: Journey to Mars

Possible Procedure:

Show students a short video clip or give them a summarized article about a manned mission to Mars. Be sure to ask a few specific and gist questions. Tell students that they represent a UN panel that decides who will make the mission to Mars. There is a rocket with eight seats on it, but one is already taken by the pilot (I draw this on the board). Students have X minutes to decide who should go. Students must choose seven of ten possible candidates (each with his or her own strengths and weaknesses) and justify their responses (This stage works well when done in partners or small groups). Once they have filled in their worksheets, students must choose the three people not to go to Mars, write their names (along with the names of people in their group) on a piece of paper, and put it in an envelope. The teacher collects the envelopes. The teacher then displays the ten candidates (either using presentation software, or by writing their names on the board) and, going through their candidature one by one, the students must convince the teacher to get either keep or get rid of the candidates. The teacher says, “Stay or go?” and students put their hands up to convince him or her of their case. You can have a vote, or just decide who has the most persuasive argument. At the end of the game, any team who chose the same candidates as the teacher gets a small reward.
 
Extension:

Students write a persuasive report/letter supporting their choices for homework/ as a journal entry.
 
Simulation Two: Desert Island Game

Possible Procedure:

Students discuss the warm-up question with a partner. Teacher asks random students their answers. Students choose 5 coordinates at random (photocopy pages 6 + 7 back-to-back), either individually, or in partners or small groups. Students then see which items they chose (you may issue groups or tables with the inventory on page 8, or display it on screen). Students then discuss their answers to the scenarios posited on page 6. The teacher asks for group/partner responses at the end of class.

Extension:

Students write a creative story detailing their use of the items on the island for homework/ as a journal entry.

 

Simulation Three: Clemency

Possible Procedure:

Tell students they are part of an advisory committee that will help decide whether a group of prisoners are eligible for clemency.
Students discuss the merits of each case, then decide on seven people to be released and three people to stay in jail. They may also increase/decrease the sentences of those in jail.

Extension:

Students write a persuasive report/letter supporting their choices for homework/ as a journal entry.


Total Pages
10
Answer Key
N/A
Teaching Duration
1 hour

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Simulations for Discussion & Debate
Simulations for Discussion & Debate
Simulations for Discussion & Debate
Simulations for Discussion & Debate