Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day 1: And the Children Shall Lead

In the summer of 2015, a group of about twenty students in grades K-11 undertook a monumental task: run the world. Every decision - from trade to competition to war - was made by these young leaders. They could approach adults for advice, but the young leaders ultimately built this world. This series of blog posts documents how a group of children dealt with some of our planet's greatest challenges.

"Tiger!" answered the Kindergarteners and 1st graders. That was the name of their country. You see, a long time ago, a mystical tiger roamed the other lands of the world. Humankind hunted this majestic cat, almost to its extinction. Instead of accepting its destruction, this tiger left and settled in the land now managed by Kindergarteners and 1st graders. The tiger held a special place in Tiger society.

Tiger making plans.
The 2nd and 3rd graders named their country, "The 3rd Graders." The name of the country may have provided a glimpse into the 2nd graders' historic subjugation and lack of full political power. Or perhaps it was in homage to the elders of the country's ruling class. In any event, the 3rd Graders formed a chaotic government consisting of multiple magnetic leaders holding divergent opinions. Their choice of the cheetahcorn as their national animal was a miraculous agreement in its own right.

Anyone's Land was governed by the 4th-6th graders. The land didn't belong to just anybody. Rather, the country's name was a convenience for all people. Anyone's Land was actually called what anyone wanted to call it. Want to call it Paper World? Sure! Discovery Zone? Aside from potential trademark infringement, why not!? Two neighbors, living in the same country, could have very different names for the same mass of land they shared. The government of Anyone's Land required their citizens to attend college.

Finally, Teen Land was managed by a group of 7th-11th graders. Teen Land was populated by teenagers only. Parents and other adults were not allowed to reside in the country. The stated purpose of this residential restriction was to allow the teenagers to focus solely on building successful lives. Upon turning 20-years-old, the Teen Land citizen was required to leave.

The 3rd Graders at work.
On the first day, the young leaders of the world built their countries. They named them, wrote their origin stories, considered the types of government they would run, and worked on some letters of the alphabet (OK, that last part was mostly just Tiger).

They learned how many people lived in their countries and their national GDPs. This was selected randomly.

The young leaders built and budgeted for schools, hospitals, and roads. They learned how much their people cared about cultural, scientific, and academic pursuits. They started to notice the distinction between themselves as a governing entity and the millions of people they represented.

The Leadership Library.
The young leaders were introduced to the Leadership Library, filled with donated and checked-out books containing the thoughts of the world's greatest thinkers. (Thanks to the wonderful people at the Kirkwood Public Library for helping us find our world's greatest thinkers!)

At the end of the busy first day, the young leaders had to turn in their national decisions and then take some time to reflect.

Little did they know that crisis would strike the world on the very next day.

In our next blog post, we see how our young leaders dealt with the world's first challenge: Global Warming.

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