This coming Friday we are planning on running a game as part of our Glocal food day. Our objective of this game was to show students that the choices they make in terms of food have an effect on everyone else in the world.
As a group, we were assigned the task of finding a way of representing the economic costs of both globally shipped food, and locally grown food. What was interesting for me was the way that we worked. We basically met in person to define our goals, and decided to create a game, then we collaborated (over a 2 week break from school, as we had a chance) in a Google doc on the specific rules for the game. At the end of the two weeks, we met up again, redefined our goals, and created a few new documents to work with.
We created a gigantic spreadsheet for the event cards for our game. Our objective was to come up with some ideas for different events which happen in people’s lives. We created the following resources for the game:
The game works as follows. Each student gets a predetermined amount of money (I think we chose $1500 a month). At the beginning of each turn, they choose what kind of food they want to eat, and purchase it. Next they buy any commodities that they want (which include things like a goat, or a diamond ring, etc…). At the end of their turn they tally the total of all of the effects of what they purchased (which is labelled in icons on each card). Finally they took their total of mood plus health plus environment and multiplied it by 100 to determine the change in their wages for next month. Quite often, especially with students who purchased fast food, their monthly wages went down (because some of the cards have an overall negative effect).
When we actually played the game, we wanted the students to learn two things: first that the choices they made had an impact on their lives, and that some choices of food are better than others.
Unfortunately we failed to impart choice number two very well. We made the fast food too cheap and it had too little of an effect on their health, so they discovered that it was really worth buying fast food all the time, but then perhaps balancing it with luxury items they didn’t need. Sigh.
If we were to play the game again, we would play-test it a lot more, and we would make sure that the different foods were a bit more balanced. Playing a game like this with our students was totally worth it though and fun to create.