Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

If Kids Rule the World, That Doesn't Mean They're Driving, Right? (Or How We Made Our Leadership Game) Part I

This summer, kids will rule the world!

They will do it from an underground fortress of solitude that looks a lot like a church cafeteria. Satellite imagery, updating in real-time, will look a lot like a flat piece of paper with some plastic on top. And whatever happens will look a lot like fun, because (drum rolls now if you haven't started already) it is fun!

This post describes the physical and visual presentation of our Summer Leadership Academy: the game board. Our next posts will discuss how the game works and what volunteers do. And then, if we've got enough sugar lying around, we'll write about the challenges we faced and our herculean efforts to overcome them.

Any-who, BEHOLD! The Setting!

OK, so now it might look more like a pretty big cafeteria in a church, but allow your imagination to fill the gargantuan space! In each corner huddles a group of a country's greatest leaders, trying to guide their people through an uncertain world. The columns are decorated in different colors to signify who may caucus where. Flags and artwork line the walls, demonstrating the cultural accomplishments of the world's superpowers.

In the middle of this room sits a large world map, covered in figurines and drawings showing military movements, trade routes, and national boundaries. This map becomes the centerpiece of interest, a luring Jumanji puzzle where the journey doesn't end until the game does.

So the map!

From first glance, it looks like a poster with a little clamp on the end. But really, it's a robot in disguise!

The map is backed with sheet metal. That makes the map board magnetic. Before using just any metal, check if it is magnetic! Bring a magnet with you.

The middle layer is a printed sheet of paper. We generated a random map (actually, a bunch!), edited the image, and had it printed at a local shop.

Finally, the top level is a sheet of plastic. The plastic preserves the map and prevents tears. It also doubles as a dry-erase surface for when we draw our national boundaries and trade routes!

We attached little disc magnets to plastic toys. We used glue, but we're still searching for the right one. These magnets are so powerful, every once in a while they'll launch a piece at another if they're facing the right (wrong?) way on the ground.

Our world leaders are then ready to sail off into the unknown. 

And so the game is played, and at the end of each busy day, the map changes to reflect the decisions the kids made.

Because that's just what happens when kids rule the world.


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