Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Stick game makes some changes

When playing the "Stick Game" with the kids, I always come up with laws that I would enact if I were in their place. Just in my head, mind you. Sometimes they do exactly what I thought to do, and sometimes they surprise me.

When we last played our game, a student had seceded from his table to form his own one-person table; they decided to reinstate the laws punishing people for stealing and making it so they could police each other on the matter; social welfare was in full effect stating that no table should ever have less than 20 sticks; taxes will come at 6 minute intervals instead of 10; and any table over 50 sticks had to pay 2 sticks per person in taxes instead of 1.

Things got heated when they realized that the one person table had a guaranteed 20 sticks no matter what, but only paid 1 stick in taxes. Someone tried to make the table minumum 5 sticks per person instead of 20 per table. If the single person table was poor by tax time, the might not have enough to pass any laws or pay to play the game. A huge debate ensued. There were tears. The class voted this out. Crisis averted.

This week they brought back the law saying that every team gets 10 sticks for every correct answer. This was after I was giving handfuls of sticks to one table and 2 or 3 to other tables. Armed with this new more consistent income, they then changed the tax law so that every table paid 5 sticks in taxes regardless of how many people were at the table. It raised taxes for most tables, but the wanted to raise taxes to support the new income law. I  actually hadn't thought of that, but it made sense for the game. It actually lowered taxes for the rich team, but they were no longer getting handfuls of sticks when they answered questions correctly. They are creating balance.

Little by little they are taking power away from me and working together to benefit each other. It's beautiful.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Re-purpose with Purpose

Hi Team,
In the last few weeks my repurposing elective has been taking old things and transforming them into new things.  This has been going...ok.  While we have no lack in creativity in the class, we lacked direction.  We came up with some very inspiring pieces like this bench that was a table and this display case and cds that were turned into a toy table saw.

On the whole though, we needed a goal.  After watching way too much Project Runway over mid-winter break, I was inspired to make the class more like a game.  Every 2-3 weeks the students are given a challenge.  This week's challenge was to make a lamp.  They had an hour to play with light bulbs and twinkling lights and to sketch out an idea.  The next week they had 30 minutes to search through the Ann Arbor Reuse-it Center.  The following week they had to create their lamp.  On the final week, they will put on the finishing touches and present their lamp.

The people at the Reuse-it Center loved it so much they started making $20 and $30 items only $1.  We got $70 worth of stuff for $10.  They said they loved our project and thought the kids were cute.  I'll take it!  While our pieces are still in progress, it's going to be amazing!