Saturday, 03 May 2003 12:12

Poverty

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You will need to cut four different colors of paper into small pieces. Place the papers in a bag where they can be mixed together. Determine a point value for each color paper. Get each child to draw 5 or 6 pieces out of the bag. Tell them what the point value of each color is and get them top add up their points. They must now move into some type of competition where they exchange papers, eg; they must ask each other questions and may not answer using the affirmative, negative, black or white. For each infringement the other person gets a piece of paper. They should move around the room and meet as many people as possible. After awhile stop them and get them to tally up their points. Divide the group into three, along the lines of the points totals. Try to get the break to reflect society, with the richest having the most points, and the poor the least. Depending on what the games' goal is you may want to get the proportion similar to society, with the biggest group being the middle class. The group with the most points now has the privilege of making up any rule they like that affects the bartering process. No restrictions are placed on them. What should happen is that the group makes a rule that will benefit them to the detriment of the others. The bartering process begins again with the new rule added to the ones about the 'taboo' words. After some time stop them and go through the same process again. Some of the entrepreneurs in the middle class may have worked themselves into the upper class. The process can be repeated two or three times more. After the game discuss how the people felt. Some questions may be: * Ask the rich people how it felt to have so much power. * Did the lower and middle classes feel frustrated or angry at any stage? * Was it frustrating for those in the lower class to know that they could never get to the top honestly, because the rich ones were acting oppressively? * Ask someone who worked up into the upper class how they got there, and how they felt when they were able to make rules. Why did, or didn't they make rules that would make it easier for others to do what they did. * Ask someone who slipped into a lower class how they felt when they were no longer able to make rules and were instead oppressed by people who had been their friends. Variation When the group splits up the last or second last time, allow the lower class people to suddenly make the new rule. This can be used to bring out emotions in kids that will cause them to identify with the emotions experienced by those in the New SA, They will be able to relate to the previously oppressed, and the oppressor. Compare the experience when the lower class made the rules to what happened in SA: * Did the Black people of SA react like the oppressed in the game, or with more love and forgiveness? * How does that affect their attitude to the Black people they come into contact with? * How did the middle class feel when they were oppressed no matter who the ruling class were? * What types of rules could've been made that would have benefited everyone, not just the rule makers.

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1 comment

  • Comment Link cygleader Tuesday, 30 March 2004 23:13 posted by cygleader

    I was really excited about this simulation when I read about it, but when we did this at our 30 Hour Famine, it wasn't as successful as hoped. Our rule was that the kids could only talk in questions. Unfortunately, the upper class didn't make rules that changed things that much, furthemore, many of the kids ran out of "money" and gave up and just sit out, my modification for this would be for the loser to give up his/her highest point and for the winner to give up their lowest bill so no one can do without. Finally, I would recommend this for highschoolers. We had mostly middle schoolers and the discussion afterwards had a lot to be desired...

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