Grade 5 students on the Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus have been practicing real world diplomacy skills this week during campus’ annual World Peace Game challenge. Fifth grade teacher Laura Ropp said students were engaged and equipped to fix global issues, with the goal of world peace expected late December 3.
Throughout the week of November 29, students playing different diplomatic roles could be seen negotiating excitedly with one another, problem-solving on paper and contemplating “resources” shelved neatly on a large, multi-level plexiglass cube in the middle of their classroom. Using practiced oratory skills and protocols, students worked together to achieve peace amidst the challenges of weather, war and depleted resources and more.
World Peace Game activities on the Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus will be held in the spring.
“The World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation that gives players the opportunity to explore the connectedness of the global community through the lens of the economic, social, and environmental crises and the imminent threat of war. The goal of the game is to extricate each country from dangerous circumstances and achieve global prosperity with the least amount of military intervention. As ‘nation teams,’ students will gain greater understanding of the critical impact of information and how it is used,” the World Peace Game Foundation explains on its website. “As their teams venture further into this interactive social setting laced with highly charged philosophical issues, the skills needed to identify ambiguity and bias in the information they receive will be enhanced and more specifically they will rapidly perceive that reactive behavior not only provokes antagonism, it can leave them alone and isolated in the face of powerful enemies. Beliefs and values will evolve or completely unravel as they begin to experience the positive impact and windows of opportunity that emerge through effective collaboration and refined communication. In essence, as meaning is constructed out of chaos and new creative solutions are proposed, World Peace Game players will learn to live and work comfortably at the frontiers of the unknown.”
During their campus game experience, students hone new strengths in negotiation and critical thinking that will help them be effective leaders for the rest of their lives. They assume different roles in the game as leaders of different countries, funding organizations, treasuries, the weather, government bodies and other groups. Students learned to consider such thoughts as, “Does it make sense? Or, can you accept the consequences? Or, can you afford it?” The day is run according to a very structured timetable and students enjoyed the pace and rigor of the assignments.
Students utilize tangible model objects like planes, weapons and food to demonstrate needs during negotiations. The resources are displayed colorfully on a large Plexiglas shelving unit, around which many of the discussions and conciliations occur. Students also learn rules about who may speak, and the appropriate terms to use while negotiating.
The World Peace Game began in 1978 when teacher John Hunter devised an activity that would help children learn how to solve problems through harmony and peaceful solutions – within a chaotic and often violent world. The game requires students to apply multiple thinking and problem-solving strategies to situations and negotiations with the object of resolving or reducing all conflicts, increase the value of your country and to develop thinkers who are equipped to solve problems in multiple ways.
For photos of Friday morning's negotiations, visit our online gallery.