This Teacher's Clever Classroom Game Helps Kids Think About World Peace

Not just fun and games.

Virginia public school teacher John Hunter has a unique tool that he uses to teach his students, but it's what he's teaching them with it that could change the world.

Hunter's invented what he calls "The World Peace Game:" a multilevel board game of sorts that he uses as an interactive, immersive way to teach kids about world problems in an effort to get them to think about ways to solve them.

The game is a microcosm of the world, but it's also a world unto itself. It features four countries, some rich, some poor. Kids are put in charge of these countries. Each child chooses his or her own cabinet officers. There are armies, resources, economies, and populations to attend to. The choices that these kids make are generated by a 13-page crisis document that shows how things are interdependent: it's a series of 50 interlocking problems that must be solved in order for the game to be won. 

Some of the stories and solutions generated by the interactions that these kids have while playing this game are truly remarkable. 

As Hunter says in this video from TED, "Every game we play is different. Some games are more about social issues, some are more about economic issues. Some games are more about warfare. But I don't try to deny them that reality of being human. I allow them to go there and, through their own experience, learn, in a bloodless way, how not to do what they consider to be the wrong thing. And they find out what is right their own way, their own selves. And so in this game, I've learned so much from it, but I would say that if only they could pick up a critical thinking tool or creative thinking tool from this game and leverage something good for the world, they may save us all. If only." 

Watch the video below and see how this game has stakes that may be much higher than simple classroom fun.



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