In social studies, seventh graders recently participated in a simulation called The Poverty Game. The game was designed to give the students insight into social inequality and injustice.
The students were divided into three groups: the red circles, the blue squares, and the yellow triangles. Each student was given a badge that determined his or her role and was treated accordingly. For example, the red circles were discriminated against, the blue squares were treated fairly, and the yellow triangles were given an unfair advantage over the other two groups. Teachers and staff played roles (game enforcers, police and storekeeper) and treated the groups unequally.
In a class discussion following the game, students talked about inequality and their observations and reactions during the game. They were asked to compose a thoughtful reflection by answering questions about the simulation--how it affected them, what they learned about themselves and others, and how it relates to their area of study and to our world.
“I was impressed with how many of our seventh graders protested loudly and organized themselves to join together in speaking up about the injustices they observed during the simulation,” said faculty member Mary Schnitzler. “Many of them kept speaking up and committed acts of protest in order to make a difference. I was so proud of them and their brave actions.”