Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fantasy Football and global competence intersect in Mr. Ippolito's class

Yesterday we were playing a review game in class to go over some of the vocabulary terms we had just learned on Monday night. I was puzzled when a number of students placed the Nile River in West Africa. Surely they must know their east from their west! Surely they learned all about the Nile River last year in sixth grade social studies and know it is in the northeast corner of the continent!

I had a small crisis on my hands, and decided we needed to do something about it. I had recently learned about an online game created by a social studies teacher called Fantasy Geopolitics.
It plays a lot like Fantasy Football, but instead of drafting NFL players, students draft countries. Their countries then earn "points" based on how frequently they appear in the news, and how those countries seek positive interactions with other countries.

Students were reading news stories, discussing strategy, and predicting what might happen in the coming weeks. Some asked questions like, "What continent is Australia on?" (hint: Australia is the only country that is also its own continent). Others asked questions like, "Where do you think the Ebola virus will spread next?" and "What do you think Russia's next move is going to be?" Some of my seventh graders were asking pretty sophisticated questions.

In our next class, students will have an opportunity to choose team captains and team names. The "draft" will take place on Monday, October 27. Learning geography and current events has never been more fun, engaging, and relevant!

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