I'm not a big fan of using somebody else's lesson plans.

Except, sometimes I am.

Well, this one, anyway.

Several years ago, when I first started putting together a Constitution Unit, I stumbled onto this activity for introducing the concept of the role of government to my 8th graders. With very few tweeks, it has become a standard in my Bag-Of-Tricks.

I call it the "Lord of the Flies" lesson.

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One neat aspect of this activity is that it gives me a bit of an insight into my new class' collective personality. Last year's class - a very cooperative, community-oriented group of kids - spent their simulation thinking of better ways of growing as friends and (as far as I could tell) hanging out on the beach, singing Kumbaya.

This year's group came up with the oddest collection of responses I can remember:
  • One team skipped Plan A, Plan B, and about fifteen other steps and went straight to cannibalism. 
  • The girls in another group made the offer that the other members of the team could do whatever they wanted with them ("Nudge, nudge, wink, wink") if they could be released from all other responsibilities. [Admittedly, in a hypothetical simulation like this, this offer was entirely theoretical. Nevertheless, I was theoretically appalled.)
  • A third group opted to join the pirates. (See video, above)

This is going to be an interesting year.