The Fourth Graders Create History
The Fourth Grade Monsters have been playing a game in English Class. Not a board game or a recreational game... but a creative writing, research-based, team building classroom game that has let them build their own civilizations from scratch.
Each week in their teams, the Monsters pick a new territory on their abstract class map. Each territory comes with resources that are native to the geographical location. From bison to rose bushes to limestone, new items come up each week. With those new resources in mind, the groups research how they can use those items in real life. Then in their journals, they construct a diary-style fictional narrative of how they’ve used their items to grow their civilization’s advancing skills.
If they research the uses of a rose bush and write an entry on how they brewed rose tea, they will be awarded a cooking skill point. If they research limestone and write about how they turned the resource into glass, they will be given a mining and prospecting skill point. Stories have been written about making paper from water reeds for a drawing and painting skill point, creating a digestive aid from taro root for a medicine skill point, and writing laws of justice for a government skill point--unique ideas and inventions across the board!
The Monsters have taken on the task of researching how human civilizations have been built up through inventions, as well as merging cultures and ideas. They believe that it’s important that we appreciate the similarities and differences among us, and also continue to learn about how our societies have become so knowledgeable and culturally rich throughout the ages. The Monsters may have not written the past, but the future is surely in their hands.
- Haley Durslag, Fourth Grade English Teacher