Cookies and peace
Cooking is an excellent way to promote sharing and to have fun. This game gives children a feel for inequality in terms of the distribution of resources and aims at teaching the importance of establishing a sustainable and equal world.
Sample cookie recipe and ingredients
6-10 years old, in the classroom or at home
Unequal distribution of resources and poverty: Once children realised that there were not enough resources for everyone to bake the cookies, they can be introduced to topics such as inequality, hunger and poverty. Unequal distribution of resources is one of the major causes of poverty. Starting the discussion with the world resources (land, water, minerals, wealth in general etc.), and linking them to geographic locations could demonstrate how global this problem in fact, is. The food crisis is one example of unequal distribution. This can also be linked to climate change and an increase in food prices to show that these are interconnected problems. The objective is to empower children with the knowledge that will make them think over these problems and their possible solutions. The solution can start from small actions like reducing food waste, protecting nature, educating others etc.
Negotiation and Problem-solving skills: These are important life skills for children. With good negotiation skills, they could get some missing ingredients from the others. In order to solve this problem, they need to discuss it, make suggestions, ask questions, listen to each other and reach some consensus. By practising these skills and solving the actual problem, children can realise how these skills lead to success.
Open discussion on the topic: What was the most obvious problem during the game and what have they done/could be done to solve it?
They start looking at the challenge(s) from different perspectives and use their imagination to come up with different ideas on how to tackle the situation.
STEAM topic 1 - Mathematics: When adding ingredients to the cookies children are introduced to mathematics. Depending on the age of the group performing the quest, different levels of difficulty could be set. For example, children at the age of 6 could be given simple mathematic problems such as adding 2 spoons of sugar to 1 spoon of honey which equals 2 spoons of sweet ingredients. For children at the age of 7-8 multiplying, division, halves, and quarters could be exercised.
STEAM topic 2 - Physics: During cooking children could be taught several principles of physics which could be demonstrated in the process. Terms like weight, mass, density, volume and processes such as transforming from one condition into another due to external conditions could be explained and showcased. E.g. butter could be melted to be added to the baking dough or after being melted due to having been put in the fridge chocolate becomes hard again. Another example is introducing density by mixing water/milk with oil and then with flour. Scales could be used to define the mass and volume of ingredients.
STEAM topic 3 - Chemistry: Cooking is largely related to several chemistry processes which could be demonstrated along the process. A very simple example of this is adding baking soda to yoghurt to see the reaction.
Game narrative: The participants are to work in groups of 8 and each group has the aim to bake 8 cookies successfully. What they do not know is that each group will be allocated a different set of resources to accomplish this task. Whilst some groups will have too much of certain ingredients, others will not have enough, or will not have any of these ingredients. Each team is based in a different area so the variation in ingredients provision is not immediately obvious to the participants. An observer is appointed to each group. The idea is that altogether there are enough resources for each group to bake a batch of cookies, but this will only work if participants take the initiative and negotiate with other groups to exchange ingredients. There will be limited copies of the recipe and also only just enough time for each group to use the oven.
NOTE: Should the class be restricted in using real ingredients, the teacher may wish to use cards instead. Refer to the PotLuck March game to print some cards with ingredients.
Game rules: Put here the different objectives of each level if there are
Free to talk with each other within and outside of the groups
No additional ingredients, recipes or time will be provided by the teacher/game organiser
Role of the teacher and game organisation:
Explains the game
The Teacher/Observer should take a back seat and allow interactions and negotiations between groups to happen organically. They can give some hints when participants are stuck as to what to do. If the Teacher / Observer feels that the cookies being baked by their team are going to turn out terrible then there is no need to intervene: mistakes only enhance what participants take from this activity. There are some ingredients such as chocolate which groups may be tempted to eat if they have spare. Again, the Teacher / Observer should allow this to happen.
Carries out discussion afterwards
Each group gets the identified ingredients and starts working with them to prepare the cookies. They need to pick one of the available recipes to follow the instructions. From start to finish it may take 40-45 minutes. In the end, they can eat the cookies if it is suitable for human consumption!
At the end of the game, participants groups will have 10 minutes to discuss in their groups as to how they think the activity went. What could they have done better? Did they manage to negotiate with the other teams? What conflicts came up? The leaders can add their own observations of the group into the discussion as they will have observed what went on in the activity. As a group, they are to write down on a big bit of paper these observations under three traffic light headings. Split the paper into three headings red, orange and green. Under green, they are to write down what they think they did well as a team, under orange they are to write down things that they thought they did ok, and under red things that they feel they could do better.
Once all the groups complete this task, the Teacher carries out an open discussion with the involvement of all participants about their findings and discusses the possible ways to address the challenges faced during the game. Ask students when they have felt similarly as in the game (with lack of resources and with the need to combine resources with other people). Use this opportunity to reveal inequalities that they might live and how can we tackle them.
It is a one-time game since all the strategies and moves will be obvious after Round 1.
Alternatively, the class/school can consider declaring "Scarce Resources Day" when they use no additional resources than those typically available in developing countries (no computers, no audio-visual equipment etc.). Then they can observe and discuss how they adapt to this situation.
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Cookies and peace
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Topic 1 - Unequal distribution of resources
Exploring the relationship between food and wealth, and how they have an impact on each of us individually and communally. You may wish to refer to other Unplugged quests, e.g. PotLuck March, Farm in the City, Poverty-free game collection, Peace Magic Grid and consult the following resources:
CFBNJ Hunger Activities from Diana Levy: https://cfbnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Roots-of-Hunger.pdf
Global Food Challenge: A cross-curricular resource to investigate global food issues with ages 7-11: https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/handle/10546/620812
Topic 2 - Importance of negotiation and cooperation
Forming and maintaining good relationships is an essential skill for the social and emotional development of children. You may wish to refer to other Unplugged quests, e.g. PotLuck March, Farm in the City, etc or consult the following links:
41 Fun Cooperative Games for Kids: https://kidactivities.net/41-fun-cooperative-games-for-kids
14 Fun and Engaging Team Building Activities for Kids: https://www.merakilane.com/14-fun-and-engaging-team-building-activities-for-kids
7 Listening Activities to Get Your Students Attentive & Ready to Learn: https://proudtobeprimary.com/listening-activities
Topic 3 - Creativity and thinking out of the box to solve problems
Equipping children with conflict resolution skills is very important. Creativity encourages finding fresh perspectives and coming up with innovative solutions when conventional thinking fails. You may wish to refer to other Unplugged quests, e.g. Pop-up City of the Future, Poverty-free Game Collection, Form Factor. etc. and consult:
Games That Promote Problem-Solving Skills: https://www.stenhouse.com/sites/default/files/public/legacy/pdfs/8247ch10.pdf
10 Wordless Videos that Teach Problem Solving: https://speechisbeautiful.com/2017/03/10-wordless-videos-teach-problem-solving
Creative problem-solving tools and skills for students and teachers: https://www.innovativeteachingideas.com/blog/creative-problem-solving-tools-and-skills-for-students-and-teachers