Here is a quick run down of the key parts to my Citizenship through Minecraft aspect of my Social Studies curriculum at the moment.
It is based on a kind of role playing, imaginary scenario, metaphor idea. Everyone is part of a colonisation programme. They have just travelled to a new planet with the goal of developing a thriving community (classic scenario - check).
First building they have made.
They have two roles to play. The first is as a member of the 'elected' government of the new community. I established several ministerial portfolios that needs people to manage.
Responsible for organising everyone and communicating between Ministers
Minister of Primary Industries
Responsible for all harvesting of Forests, Growing of Food, Managing Hunting Resources
Minister of Law and Order
Responsible for all getting the citizens to make laws and then to enforce them
Minister for Faith
Responsible for helping others, ensuring people act with moral guidance
Minister of Building
Responsible for ensuring everyone has a house, as well as community building projects
Minister of Exploration
Responsible for all exploration of the planet in search of resources
To begin with the ministers are self elected within the class. Then they assigned the rest of the people to different portfolios as they decided needed more support. I hope later in the year to collaborate with other classrooms around New Zealand or the world where they can vote for Orion Primes government based on parties that my students create, then we can play out a government like we have here in New Zealand, more or less. (Let me know if your keen).
The second role is of ''work teams". There is only 10 spaces on the world at a time (technical restriction) this translates to only 10 sets of safety gear for people to leave the ship and build the community. They each take part in work teams that have been planned and allocated as citizens to get things done, this may be within the responsibilities of their government role or not it does not matter.
So while the up to 8 out of 24 students are being in a work team in the minecraft game on Orion Prime the rest are planning, negotiating, organising, and reflecting. I am fine tuning this part, it is where I identified I needed to develop from my reflections on how this all went last year. The real world planning and reflection needs to be robust and engaging so as to show and evidence learning as well as not detract from the engagement, ideally it would add to the engagement.
So for the planning side, currently they have work team plans they need to fill out. Just a basic form explaining who, what, when.
As we go along I (as the facilitator hired by earth to manage the process ;-) add requirments and pre requisites before work teams are allowed to commence. We are at the very beginning so far and there is a focus on building so the Minister for Building is managing a planning process for the first buildings in the community and the city layout. It is pretty hap hazard but it is getting them to stop think and engage, they can't wait to get into the game and play this all out.
For the reflection part so far they can choose between a written reflection on what they did, what they learnt, and how they can apply that to their life, or they can do a progress report to earth, which is a template I made that they can fill out.