Fifth Graders Learn Negotiation, Diplomacy, and Strategy via World Peace Game
Each year, fifth grade students participate in the World Peace Game. This hands-on political simulation gives young students the opportunity to explore the global landscape by considering the impact of economic, social, and environmental crises and the threat of war.
John Hunter, a gifted teacher, created the World Peace Game as a way to challenge his students. The game was first played in the late 70s and now is played around the world by students from elementary to high school. The game consists of four countries and four organizations. Students work with their team to solve twenty-three crises ranging from military conflict and natural disasters, to migration issues – which change from year to year. The goal is to achieve global prosperity and the game is not complete until all problems are solved and each country or organization is above its starting budget. The students quickly learn the importance of teamwork and compromise.
Chase Smith, a fifth grader, completed the game in the fall of 2018. Chase acted as the president of the World Bank. “World Peace Game makes you realize that you can’t just solve something by saying it’s solved,” says Chase. “You realize negotiating is harder than you think.”
Fifth grade teacher Ms. Sarah Bryan facilitates the game for the fifth grade students. “This spring I am facilitating the fifth group of fifth graders to play the game at ODA. Each group has solved the challenge in a different way. For one group, the game came down to a coin toss. When the coin landed on heads, which was what was needed, the whole class erupted in excitement. The kids love the game because they are solving real world problems on their own terms.”
Fifth grader Bella Cogan is currently playing the game as a Prime Minister for her country that her group named Lit-Rich Narwalville. She reflects, “I like the challenge of having a lot of stuff to do because the crises are hard and you don’t have much time. It gives you a lot of suspense.”