I’ve started doing some work with my grade 8 class at looking at the needs of current and future societies. I’ve posted before about ideas I have for a unit on societies and we have started a basic introduction.
The first things we did was look at the societies of the past we have studied this year to see what they had in common. This year we’ve examined several of the "standard" ancient societies; ancient humans, Egypt, Rome, and the European Middle Ages. Starting this current unit, I asked the kids to come up with lists of problems that people in these societies faced. Things such as a lack of food, poor health care and hygiene, and rampant disease wisely topped their lists. We came to an agreement that many of the problems of societies of the past were based upon purely staying alive and staying fed.
When we started looking at current societies, a different set of problems emerged. While they were wise enough to still mention many social ills such as homelessness, Aids, and poverty, other ideas such as obesity, war, and pollution came to the forefront. We agreed that we have still not tackled many of the problems of the past in many parts of the globe, and we have managed to acquire new ones.
So now we will move on to designing societies. My five copies of SimCity have arrived and I will spend part of my long weekend today re-learning how to play this game. I’ve played earlier versions and I’m interested in seeing how this version works. It will be fun to see the kids wrap themselves around it. I want them to come to an understanding of the complexity of societies, and the interaction between different elements of it. Money spent on transportation effects work opportunities, lack of health care effects housing, etc. I want them to see the fluidity, the complexity, and the relationships between many things. A few interesting weeks ahead.