I've tried out a new idea this week with my Year 9 students who are in the process of studying the Global Development unit of work. Instead of simply playing an old and pre-prepared development Snakes & Ladders game with them, I decided (about 5 minutes before the lesson) to let them design their own to showcase their own interpretations and experiences of global development. To put it into context, we have already studied a short unit deciding whether we should bin or teach the Brandt Line in 2016. This involved looking at key developmental data for a selection of countries to the north and south of this line and then making a reasoned judgement.
The conversation that followed initially led to the following rules.
1. The length of the snakes or ladders should be proportional to the impact that the factor has on development i.e. the longer the more detrimental/advantageous and the shorter the less the impact etc.
2. The 1-100 board works well in conjunction with the HDI league in that it is measured on a scale of 0-1. Countries can therefore be placed on the board in their current position or real world events assigned to countries (e.g. Syria was up to 0.63/64 on HDI in 2011 but has dropped back to 0.59 since the conflict started. On the board underneath, the Syrian civil war could be attributed to the snake on place 64 taking the county back to place 60 in 2013)
3. No current situation or country should be lower than square 35 on the board. This place represents the current position of Niger on 0.348. Similarly, no country should be placed higher than square 94 as this represents the current positioning of Norway.
4. Anything lower than 35 on the board could be a historical event, such as the Black Death, colonization, de-colonization, war, energy found. More than one group labelled the long ladder from square 28 as the industrial revolution in a named western country. The other option was to incorporate previous work on uncontacted tribes (link here) into this lower third of the board to show impacts of first contact etc.
5. Anything higher than Norway on the board has to be an imaginary future scenario. Knowing what we do about Norway and wealth generation, many groups used the snake in square 99 as oil supplies being depleted in the future and the country taking a step backwards in terms of HDI league placing.
So, all in all, we had quite a varied game in scope as well as in geographical and historical accuracy. A mixture of real words events (snakes, ladders & flash cards) together will 2016 placings of example countries on the board linking to HDI ranking has given the students something to think about. All that is left is for both Year 9 classes to swap and have to play the game later this week.
Anyone got a dice?
Author of geographypods.com.