Dialogue : The World Game

The World Game can be played to two different ends. One is the invention of an imaginary land (see World Game-again under INVENTION). The other is relating imagination to the world as it exists - although we find that for many children the world beyond a small region is an imaginary fantastical land.

In this version, as in Africa (below), the shift in emphasis needs back-up material - photographs, maps of food, wealth, wars - so that however shakily they can grasp the diversity of life, experience and landscape across the planet and relate it to what they have already seen, heard or read. When players put their pieces together they have a world in microcosm: rich and poor, fertile and barren are brought together. I now feel that this "serious" version should be played alongside related social and physical geography lessons.

The original version was the world mapped on a quarter-sphere geodesic hoopla board - 5 feet wide by 3 feet high. The second version was an A3 size tiddleywinks board in a box 2" deep. In both cases the players acquired a shape (each shape is quarter of a continent) and information, and sometimes a letter of the alphabet. The simplest way to play would be for the cut-out pieces to be drawn at random. The original board-maps were drawn on the Bonne projection, which is less distorted that the familiar Mercator as used on the sheets shown here.

The map provided can be used as a basis for games boards and templates. Thin card is usually sufficient depth for a template.

In each version the player then joins the shapes together and maps the outline of the new land. They are then asked to think about this new world or island, about its differing regions, climate, landscape and inhabitants.The best poems have tended to draw on known conflicts either of interests and lifestyle or armed; or have merged or superimposed different places and cultures. They have also been the ones where the writer has collected a `stockpile' of small details and decided on a definate subject and approach, whether descriptive or narrative.

As with the imaginary country, it's worth asking where they are in the country, what they "see", to try to describe situations more subtly.

Another geographically based workshop, on Africa, used a main board on which phrases of African poetry were written to fill the continent's outline to provide useful words and starting points. This board was complemented by a display of wide-ranging images and other materials. It ran into the same reality problem as the World Game.
I still like the phrases of poetry as display, but partly because they were so evocative and the children so ill- informed, the images they led to could easily degenerate from a building of rapport with the atmosphere and culture to a Tarzan movie, and it was difficult, even with the presented visual images, to get them to consider arab and civic Africa. I feel that to deal with "real" continents, peoples, cultures, it's necessary for far more extensive information to have been taught or aquired than can be conveyed during a short poetry-directed session.

For further information on this sort of game click on games listed under DIALOGUE in the INDEX side bar.

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Windows Workshops Dave Calder, The Windows Project ,1997,1998,1999,2009