“Leave Nothing to Chance” is, unless I’m very much mistaken (and I probably am), my first real attempt at a “proper classroom simulation”.
I’d like to say I’m excited about it, but when all’s-said-and-done it’s only a simple simulation.
On the other hand, I very much hope you like it, use it, develop it and share it.
Not necessarily in that order, but you probably get the idea.
Aside from this, if you need a bit of convincing about the content, the sim is designed to illustrate differential educational achievement and uses the mechanism of a lottery – or to be more-precise, a series of Key Stage lotteries – to explore how differences in achievement are, for sociologists, the result of material and cultural factors that occur both inside and outside the school.
The lotteries, although a central feature of the game (there can only be one winner. Unless you decide otherwise), are the device through which students are encouraged to explore, with your help, direction and guidance (you know, the teaching stuff), how and why different social groups achieve differently in the education system. They are, in other words, the glue that holds the lesson together.
In case you’re wondering what it all involves and how to play it, I’ve put together a short “Leave Nothing to Chance” booklet that includes:
• a short (optional) introduction that sets the general sim scene.
• instructions about how to set-up and run the simulation.
• a set of example Investment Cards you can optionally use while playing.
Although the latter can be edited using a program like Acrobat Reader, if you want to create your own Cards in Word the examples and a blank Card template are also available for download.
Lastly, in a nutshell, the salient features of the sim are:
• Requires very little preparation.
• Is easy to set-up, run and play.
• Has a flexible playing structure that can be adapted and expanded to your specific teaching requirements.
• Provides opportunities for both in-sim and post-sim content teaching.
• Involves chocolate cake (nice, but optional).
A few minor changes have been made to the original file and these are contained in a new version of Leave Nothing to Chance:
• Background added to Investment Cards, both the examples and blank Cards.
• Wording of some example Cards changed slightly to reflect the idea that investment in a child’s education doesn’t always pay-off.
• Text on Cards centred.