Geopolitical Role Play Scenario- Lesson Activity

During my time teaching leadership classes to students on Saturdays, I was tapped to hold a three-hour class with my regular group of Gangneung students and high school/university students from Canada. I was given the freedom to come up with my own lesson, but teaching a three-hour class seemed daunting. I decided to go with a role-play activity that would focus on the students working on communication/diplomacy skills on a faux world stage. I had done something similar with my Gangneung students the year before, but in a reduced, one hour, capacity.

Tying in themes of environmentalism, and human rights advocacy, I created a scenario that was team based. The teams had to deal with the ramifications of land use in a fictional South American country (I created an island country off the coast). Each team had different goals, and would need to negotiate with the others. They needed to come with a gameplan to serve their interests, send members to negotiate with other teams, reconvene and then present their resolution. The activity took three hours, but can be tailored for any amount of time.

Activist Team Worksheet

Farmers Team Worksheet

Foreign Interests Worksheet

Government Team Worksheet

Indigenous Team Worksheet

Logging Companies Worksheet

Final Resolution Worksheet

It wasn’t necessary for me to create assessment or evaluation tools for this lesson, but I am sure you can come up with a checklist or rubric that fits the curriculum needs of your document of choice.

Activities like this really motivated the students, and cultivated deep critical thinking. Prior to that, I hadn’t taught high school or university-aged Canadian students, and I wasn’t sure how they would take to it after being very jet-lagged. They took to it, though, and the City Hall and NGO that ran the organization enjoyed the exercise.

If you have higher-level students, I’d recommend this kind of role playing scenario. I’d create a different fictional setting than mine, as it is tailored to my students’ sense of humour. A fictional setting allows you as the teacher to be the final arbiter of truth, which may be difficult if you choose a real location and the students come to you with questions of a legal nature. With my fictional country, I could answer the hows and whys of the situation while the teams sent out their negotiators.