Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Socials 11: Spy vs. Spy

This post is courtesy of Russ Reid.

During our August Pro-D I worked with Dave S. and Lesley L. brainstorming ways to improve understanding of the cold war for our grade 11 students. We all felt this was a challenging era to explain and understand. It was thought through competition (which in a nut shell was the cold war) a better understanding could occur.

This was my first time running the competition and I was nervous wondering if the kids would buy into it. Well I failed to remember how competitive teenagers are. I first divided the students into two groups - Soviets and Americans. Next time I would like to create a few sattelite states. We have had a few competitions along the way. The one they bought into hook line and sinker was the Spy vs Spy.

I asked two adults on staff to act as double agents. Each of them came up with a password. This password would then be used by the students to discover who their agent was. Once they found their agent, the agent would give them a document (a blueprint of a secret tank being built by the other nation). The students went around the school (on their own time) saying their password to adults (the two passwords were "The earth is blue" and "I love cuddling with Nellie"). One of my agents decided to bake a cake and hide the blueprints between the two layers. The video is of them discovering the document.

We also had a space race (building paper airplanes), trivia competition about the cold war, rock/paper/scissors competition. Next week they are going to watch a clip of a Russian Ballet troupe. They will be given time to practice and will have to perform in front of judges - Three Americans and Three Soviets. All the judges will be corrupt and will give Zeros or Tens depending on which nation is performing. I will also have a group boycott the event.

The hope is to give them a fun, practical way to understand the war. The students are also receiving notes, video and textbook questions to reaffirm their understanding.

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