Submitted by Michael Rodenbush, Kristin Geller, and Ronda Sowa
Throughout the fall, the fourth grade concentrated on geography and the economy. We learned about the seven continents, the hemispheres, longitude and latitude, countries, states and oceans. Also, we learned about the history of money. Roman soldiers were paid in salt! Hence the phrase, ‘Not worth his salt.’ We learned about the advent coins and paper money, the difference between a good and a service, and how scarcity can affect the price of a product.
In the winter trimester, we were invited to participate in an entrepreneur workshop by high school teacher Peter Waltman. The children worked in teams to develop a product and a business plan. They learned about SWOT Analysis – how to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Each team put together a PowerPoint presentation at the end of the workshop. The goal of the presentation to convince investors to put money into their business.
At the beginning of the spring semester, we began the World Peace Game with all three fourth- grade classes participating. There are four countries that are represented by a Prime Minister and three cabinet members—a Secretary of State, a Minister of Defense and a Chief Financial Officer. There are two Members of the World bank, a Saboteur, two members of the United Nations and 2 Weather Gods/Goddesses who are in charge of keeping the game organized and determining the weather and the behavior of the stock market. The players are faced with twenty-two problems, many of which interconnect. There military, ethnic, religious, ecological and economic issues that run through the problems. The children learn how to negotiate, draft a treaty that is enforceable, obey the chain of command, balance a budget and solve problems that have no readily apparent solution. The game is successfully completed when all countries establish peace for their nation and all nations, increase prosperity for their nation and all nations, and solve all military, social and economic problems.
We will be visiting the United Nations next week to tour and get some insight as to how countries come together and attempt to solve problems peacefully.