Reimagining Popular Games: The Prejudice Project

 Project Description | Adapting to Other Subjects & Contexts | Teacher Reflection

street-smarts(Author: Jake Plaskett & IT Pedagogy Team)

This project, created by Jake Plaskett, was part of a whole school interdisciplinary experience I was part of for Year 8 Students. The program, called “City Experience”,  challenged the notion of traditional schooling and offered an alternative to teaching exclusively in the conventional classroom setting. Students gained a local and urban identity through this experience that culminated in a collection of board games that have been reimaged to represent Sydney.
Students were asked to submit an expression of interest that sorted them into project teams that explored psychology, communication, data analysis, economics, visual arts, design and technology, and geography as a part of their two-week experience. The board games for 2015 were as follows:

Escape from Manly – A dystopian interpretation of the future by analysing the effects of global warming, over population, and the increasing urbanization and its implications on marine wildlife.
Monopoly: Past, Present, and Future – The classic tabletop board game redesigned to be representative of Sydney across time by studying historical data, economics, and urban planning.
Trivial Pursuit: Sydney – An interactive interpretation of the trivia-based game based on the historical and geographical features of Balmain, Pyrmont, and The Rocks.
Taboo: Sydney Edition – A language based game that tests your ability to describe significant landmarks or Australian cultural items without using the most frequently used descriptors.
Street Smarts – A comedic television game show that challenges the player’s preconceptions and prejudices to try and guess which of three pre-recorded contestants answered random knowledge questions correctly.

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Project Description of Street Smarts

Context: Yr 8 (whole school experience)

Time:  2 weeks

Learning objectives: to explore the concept of prejudice; to experience in-group and out-group behavior; to develop interviewing skills; to increase confidence when talking to members of the public; to work on video editing techniques; to use adaptive thinking; to create a persuasive ad

Product: After exploring the concept of prejudice by unknowingly participating in a series of experiments, students create their own version of the TV show Street Smarts to present before an interactive audience to prove that we are all innately prejudiced.

Exhibition: Students screened their versions of Street Smarts and their commercial on prejudice at the presentation of learning night with parents at a venue in the city.

Task sequence:

  1. Experiments on prejudice
  2. Lifeboat activity and follow up discussion. This activity triggers a lively discussion on prejudice.
  3. Creating questions for their segment
  4. Interviewing people from the streets.
  5. Creating awareness ads to screen between segments
  6. Video editing the interviews & ads

Do you have any questions about the project description? Click here  to add them to the comments section. 

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Adapting to other Subjects & Contexts

The original project, as explained above, was designed as an interdisciplinary project outside the normal timetable and school environment. It can involve Religion (for issues of prejudice and social justice), Psychology (prejudice, in-group, out-group, stereotypes, experiments),  Design & Technology  (video editing); English (creating the advertisement), as well as a range of subjects for the content of the questions for the game show.

Do you have any other ideas teachers could find helpful? Click here  to add them to the comments section.

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Teacher Reflection

 For City Experience approximately 200 students were divided into 6 groups, and each group had to create a particular game. I chose to lead the Street Smarts project, as it was based on prejudice and I knew that, with my passion for psychology, I could enrich and add a lot of value to the project

This was my second year running the Street Smarts project so I immediately implemented some changes based on my reflections from the previous year.  For example, I introduced the project on the first day (the previous year it was announced on day four), as last year I felt that the first three days lacked purpose because students were roaming the city without any understanding of why and what was expected of them. I felt this was a big improvement and gave students more time to work on their final product.

The experiments I had conducted last year worked very well, so I repeated them with some minor tweaking. Once again, I was surprised that the students were completely unaware of the fact that they were participating in an experiment on prejudice, and it was funny to note that no one ever even asked why we were doing the activities and how they were related to the City Experience project.

I also added a new task. I asked students in their groups to create an ad on prejudice to screen between the various Street Smart segments. This new component gave students the opportunity to reflect further on some of the important concepts we learned about prejudice on the first day, as they were forced to process, analyse and transform the knowledge into a new medium.

This year we also made time for a screening of the Street Smart segments and ads in front of the whole group before the presentation of learning. This gave each group the opportunity to receive feedback on their segment and make changes before the official screening. Many segments improved considerably, thanks to the feedback they received but also due to the cross-pollination of ideas that occurred when viewing segments from other groups.

Have you tried peer-critique sessions in your class? How has it affected the quality of the final product?  Click here  to share your views in the comments section.

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